care-4 – BT Scheme rules
The scheme is the childcare benefit scheme operated by care-4 (owned by Grass Roots Group UK Ltd), on BT’s behalf. The Scheme will operate using a salary sacrifice arrangement, whereby the amount of salary you sacrifice will equal the amount of childcare benefit you receive. care-4 will set up a childcare account for each individual participating in the Scheme. The salary sacrifice will be credited into the care-4 account by BT and participants authorise care-4 to make payments to their nominated Carers up to the balance within the account. The salary sacrifice within the care-4 account cannot be exchanged for cash.
Salary Sacrifice is the amount of pay given up by you, and will be equal to the amount you will receive as childcare benefit under the Scheme.
2.0 ELIGIBILITY TO JOIN
The Scheme is open to all BT plc employees, who meet the following criteria, to pay for childcare for children up to the 1st September after their 15th birthday or 1st September after their 16th Birthday if they have a disability), for whom they are the parent/legal guardian.
Participants must have a minimum of one month's continuous service with British Telecommunications plc.
Participants must have an Employee Identification Number.
Participants must be working in a line of business in which the payroll and accounting processes are conducted by Steria.
- The Scheme is provided at the discretion of BT. Participation of an individual in the Scheme is at the discretion of BT.
- In order for employees to receive this childcare benefit, they must sign an agreement to change their terms and conditions of employment (a salary sacrifice agreement) whereby salary is given up in return for childcare benefit.
- The Salary Sacrifice will appear on payslips for employees participating in the Scheme.
- Employees will be required to agree a monthly amount of Salary Sacrifice. Monthly pay will be reduced by this amount.
- The amount of Salary Sacrifice is fixed for the period of the agreement. This will be for an initial period of 12 months. The amount of Salary Sacrifice cannot be adjusted unless there has been a lifestyle change (see section 4.0). However, once the Salary Sacrifice is received into the care-4 account, it can be used to authorise care-4 to pay the pre-registered carers as the individual wishes.
- There is no restriction on both parents within a family unit taking part in the Scheme.
3.0 JOINERS, CHANGES TO CHILDCARE BENEFIT AND LEAVERS
- Employees will be entitled to change their contribution at the anniversary of their date of joining. Those wishing to change their contribution should visit www.bt.care-4.co.uk or telephone 0844 800 1444 at this time to record their new requirements.
- Employees will be advised of the review period and those wishing to change their contribution should visit www.bt.care-4.co.uk or telephone 0844 800 1444 during this period to record their new requirements.
- Changes to the Salary Sacrifice cannot be made to at any other time unless the individual has had a “lifestyle change” listed below.
- The following events are “lifestyle changes”, which may be accepted as reason to change Salary Sacrifice. The change in Salary Sacrifice is subject to agreement by BT. Employees wishing to change or cease their Salary Sacrifice following a lifestyle change are required to notify care-4 of these changes: -
- Stopping work to go on maternity leave
- Stopping work to go on additional paternity leave
- Long term absence resulting in a reduction to 50% of salary
- Marriage/Divorce/Separation/House move
- Change to place of work/Significant change in role
- Birth or adoption of child
- Death/Serious illness of a dependant
- Significant change to contractual hours
- Significant changes to childcare arrangements
- Significant change to partner’s circumstances
- If the employee’s pay (excluding any statutory payments), after all other deductions are made, is insufficient to cover the Salary Sacrifice in any particular month then the employee will no longer be eligible to allow further reductions to be made to salary and their membership of the Scheme shall cease. This does not apply for maternity leave or additional paternity leave.
- For those who leave the Scheme any amount left in the care-4 account will remain available to the individual until it has been used, at which point the care-4 account will terminate. However funds in accounts unused for 18 months will be dispersed to charity.
- Credits to the care-4 account from BT, will cease at the date of leaving BT.
- Employees who have agreed to reductions in their salary in exchange for Childcare benefit will continue to receive this benefit during maternity leave and additional paternity leave as long as they do not cease their membership of the scheme. During the maternity leave/additional paternity leave period the reductions to salary will continue when there is sufficient BT pay to cover the reduction. Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Additional Paternity Pay (ASPP) is not salary and cannot be reduced. When only SMP/ASPP is paid or the BT Pay top up is insufficient to allow the full reduction to be made, BT will still provide the employee with their contractual Childcare Benefit up to the maximum salary reduction allowed
(for example in 2013/14 this is up to £243 per month depending on the rate at
which employees pay tax and NI).
4.0 TAX AND NATIONAL INSURANCE
Up to £243 per month of benefit received will be free from both tax and NI,
depending on the rate at which you pay tax and NI. Any additional benefit
received will be taxed in the same way as salary.
Basic rate tax payers can save tax and NI on up to £55 per week (£243 per month).
Higher rate tax payers save tax and NI on up to £28 per week (£124 per month).
Additional rate tax payers save tax and NI on up to £25 per week (£110 per
Employees in the scheme before 6th April 2011 can save on up to £55 per week
(£243 per month) regardless of the rate at which they pay tax and NI provided
they do not change employer or leave the scheme for a period of more than 12
For employees who joined the scheme after 5th April, or re-join after a 12 month
break, BT will carry out a Basic Earnings Assessment on joining, and annually at
the start of each new tax year to determine the maximum level at which the
individual saves tax and NI on this benefit. The value assessed will be valid
until the new tax year even if their salary changes.
Participation in the Scheme will not affect ‘Basic’ State Pension or Company Pension, as long as earnings after the amount given up under the Salary Sacrifice remain higher than the National Insurance earnings threshold. However there will be a reduction in the state second pension, if you are a member of the BT Retirement Plan or not in any BT Pension Scheme because of the reduced NI paid.
- If any employee is found to be defrauding the system they will be subject to disciplinary action which could result in dismissal.
- BT reserve the right to make reductions from your salary in respect of any payments made to carers by BT or care-4 in respect of care duties undertaken on your behalf and which are not covered by the balance in the care-4 account
- The care-4 account can only be used to fund care for children up to up to the 1st September after their 15th birthday (or 1st September after their 16th birthday if they have a disability)
- The care-4 account cannot be used for the payment of private school fees.
- The care-4 account is purely for the payment of approved and registered childcare and cannot be converted into cash.
You can choose any carer to be paid through care-4 provided they are Registered or Approved at the time of registration.
Registered care includes:
- Registered nurseries
- Registered child minders
- After school clubs
- Play schemes (including summer holiday schemes)
Approved care includes:
- Carers who are not legally required to be registered to care for children
All Approved carers must be certified to confirm that they are on the
Voluntary Ofsted Register*. For more information on the Voluntary Ofsted Register please visit www.ofsted.gov.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call
0300 123 1231.
All Approved carers must be certified to confirm that they have completed the
Childcare Approval Scheme*. For more information please visit www.childcareapprovalschemewales.co.uk
In Northern Ireland
All Approved carers must be registered with the Health and Social Services Trust. For more information please visit
There is no approval scheme, however nannies provided through nanny agencies
registered with the Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland are eligible. For more
information please visit www.scswis.com.
*The approval process can take up to 12 weeks and must be obtained before you can start to
pay your carer.