Existing employer supported childcare closed to new entrants from 6 April

31 January 2018

Following a parliamentary debate about the future of childcare vouchers, we can confirm that existing Employer Supported Childcare (ESC) will still be closed to new entrants from 6 April 2018.

In order to access Employer Supported Childcare as a new entrant before the April 2018 cut-off, a parent will have to have received their first voucher by 5 April 2018. The act of making an application would not be sufficient and is not recognised in legislation.

GOV.UK guidance has been updated to reflect this:

“Changes to childcare vouchers

From 6 April 2018, childcare voucher schemes will close to new applicants. You may be able to get Tax-Free Childcare instead.

You can keep getting vouchers if you’ve joined a scheme and get your first voucher by 5 April 2018, as long as:

  • you stay with the same employer and they continue to run the scheme
  • you don’t take an unpaid career break of longer than a year

If you get Tax-Free Childcare

You can’t continue to claim childcare vouchers if you successfully apply for Tax-Free Childcare.

Which scheme you’re better off with depends on your situation. Use the childcare calculator to work out which type of support is best for you.

You must tell your employer within 90 days if you get Tax-Free Childcare. They’ll then stop giving you new vouchers.

You can continue to use any vouchers you already have, including to make a joint payment for childcare with Tax-Free Childcare. There’s no deadline for using your vouchers.

Once you’ve told your employer that you’re getting Tax-Free Childcare, you can’t rejoin their voucher scheme.”


The updated guidance on GOV.UK is available here - Help with childcare costs/childcare vouchers.