The Government’s new Tax Free Childcare Scheme is replacing the current Childcare Voucher Scheme, so the Childcare Voucher Scheme will close to new joiners soon. If you’re a working parent it’s really important to understand how both schemes work, so you can decide which one is best for you.

If you’re not currently taking part in the Childcare Voucher Scheme through the Co-op, and you want to join, you must apply online no later than 5pm on 23 February so that your salary reductions have started by the March payroll (before the deadline date of 5 April 2018). You need to apply through the Co-op Flexible Benefits (Mid Counties) website.

If you’ve joined the Childcare Voucher Scheme through the Co-op and your payroll reductions are currently paused or suspended, you must restart these by the March payroll, or you’ll be classed as having left the scheme.

If you’re not taking part in the Childcare Voucher Scheme on 5 April, you won’t be able to join it in the future. However, subject to eligibility, you’ll be able to apply to join the Government’s new Tax Free Childcare Scheme.

Find out more

You can find more information on the following sites:

And if you still have questions, you can contact:

Co-operative Flexible Benefits by phone on 0800 458 7929 (9am-5pm Monday to Friday) or email

Join the conversation! 8 Comments

  1. Hi. I am currently on maternity leave and receiving no pay due to the length of time I have been off. Does this mean I can’t join the current scheme as I have no wages to pay into it? Many thanks

  2. I am currently signed up to the current voucher scheme and sacrifice the full £220 pcm, do I have the option to stay on this scheme? if so, how can I work out which scheme will offer me best value for money?

    • Hi Ray. If you’re in the current voucher scheme you can stay in it until your children reach maximum eligible age. Under the Government’s rules, if you leave the voucher scheme at any point in the future you wouldn’t be able to re-join it. However (subject to eligibility) you would be able to join the new Tax Free Childcare Scheme.

      It’s obviously an individual decision as to which scheme is best for you. The helpline will be able to tell you more: 0800 458 7929 (9am-5pm Monday to Friday) or email

  3. Seems strange the link is to Mid – Counties Coop

    • Hi Steve. Mid-Counties are a major provider of childcare vouchers to lots of employers and have provided the Co-op scheme for a number of years. Basically our Co-op has sourced the service from another co-op. Rob

      • hi what is the voucher scheme?

        • Hi Roseann. The current Childcare Voucher Scheme lets eligible colleagues buy Childcare Vouchers worth up to £55 per week through their salary, exempt from tax and National Insurance. The vouchers can be used with approved childcare providers.

          The Government has introduced a new Tax Free Childcare Scheme which has different rules and benefits. If you want to join the older Childcare Voucher Scheme, you must apply by 17:00 on Friday 23rd February 2018, otherwise your option will be to join the new Tax Free Childcare Scheme. Check out the links above to find out more. Rob.

        • Hi Roseann. The Voucher Scheme is a Salary Sacrifice, which allows you to save the tax and National Insurance on the salary you sacrifice in exchange for childcare vouchers. The scheme will close to new members from April, which is why you would need to join now. For more information, go to the Benefits portal ( and/or contact Co-op Flexible Benefits, our supplier, as shown above.

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