Returning Back To Work

If you have a child and are thinking of going back to work you may be able to get Child Tax Credit to help with the child care costs. If you are on a low income, you may also qualify for Working Tax Credit. This could mean getting back up to 80 per cent of your childcare costs up to a limit of £140 a week for one child and £240 a week for two children. You use us as a registered Nursery for this to apply.

Each employer will have their own policies on maternity leave, pay and your rights at work during pregnancy and whilst on maternity leave. At the very least your employer must offer the statutory minimum as set out in Government guidelines.

Rules that came into force on April 2007 have extended the length of time new mothers can take off work and still get paid. A woman who is an employee can now benefit from up to 26 weeks of Ordinary Maternity Leave and 26 weeks of Additional Maternity Leave, making one year in total.

To qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) you must have been employed for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks before the qualifying week, which is the 15th week before the baby’s due date. You can receive SMP for up to 39 weeks, as long as you meet the conditions. If you have the right to it you will get it even if you decide to leave your job before you start receiving it. You do not have to repay it if you decide not to go back to work or leave your job whilst receiving SMP.

If you are employed you can choose when you want your SMP to start. This will normally coincide with your Ordinary Maternity Leave. Unless your baby is born sooner, the earliest SMP can start is 11 weeks before the week your baby is due, although you can continue to work until the day of childbirth if you wish to do so. You can change your leave dates at any time by giving your employer 28 days notice.

Your employer will pay you 90% of your average weekly earnings for the first six weeks of Ordinary Maternity Leave then up to £112.75 for the remaining 33 weeks. You pay tax and National Insurance in the same way as on your regular wages. Your employer reclaims the majority of Statutory Maternity Pay from their National Insurance contributions and other payments. To qualify for SMP you must pay tax and national insurance as an employee (or would pay if you earned enough). All pregnant women are entitled to reasonable paid time off for ante-natal care.

For up-to-date information about your maternity rights, the following websites can provide you with all the help and information you need.
1) www.direct.gov.uk/en/Parents/workingparents
2) www.workingfamilies.org.uk

Help from employer’s

Some employers offer a childcare allowance or vouchers as part of a ‘salary sacrifice’ scheme. It is worth asking your line manager, personnel or human resources department whether your employer runs a scheme like this.

Large local employers like the NHS and LAs can be encouraged to help with childcare costs. From April 2005, the Government plans to reform the existing tax and National Insurance (NI) exemptions to support the National childcare strategy.

The changes from 2005 focus on employer-supported childcare, for example workplace nurseries and childcare vouchers and provide a better incentive for employers to support the provision of childcare for employees.

Childcare vouchers

Childcare vouchers are a way of paying for childcare, usually with a paper voucher redeemable by the childcare provider. Childcare vouchers are usually administered by a voucher provider for an administration fee.

Childcare subsidies

This is an amount paid to a childcare provider to subsidise the cost of staff care.

Workplace provision

Workplace, or in-house provision, is where the employer is wholly or partly responsible for financing and managing the provision; or when the care provided is on premises, which are made available solely by the employer. In practice this means either a workplace nursery or an in-house or on-site holiday play scheme. A contractor may run the scheme as long as it fits the above criteria.

Full information can be found in the Childcare section of the Inland Revenue website.

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