Dear all,


We've been looking at this too - but from a different perspective. We have been asked whether it would be possible for departments/research grants to pay for any additional childcare costs researchers incurred outside their normal working hours, particularly to attend conferences.


We have been wary about whether we would want to encourage departments to introduce a scheme just for childcare costs, precisely because we would want any scheme to provide equal treatment for those with caring responsibilities other than for children - and the cost implications would then be considerable.


But on the tax point in particular, the advice we have had is that, if an employee is in receipt of childcare vouchers/salary sacrifice benefit etc, the tax benefit would extend to the additional child care regardless of the timing of that care. However, if the employee is reimbursed directly for the cost of any care, this would be deemed by HMRC to be a taxable benefit.






Trudy Coe
Head of Equality and Diversity Unit
University Offices
Wellington Square
Oxford OX1 2JD
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From: HE Administrators equal opportunities list [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Deborah Viney [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2012 2:55 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Disability by Association and expenses?

Hi Pamela

interesting question -

first question I would ask is (assuming the conference is on an ordinary working day) what partner care arrangements would be in place if the member of staff were simply attending work as usual?   Assuming that something is usually in place for those working hours, the costs are actually limited to any additional hours of care the person might need (e.g. because to travel to the conference the employee must leave home earlier than usual and will arrive home later than usual).

Second - I wonder whether a parallel with childcare or eldercare arrangements is appropriate?    Would the employer usually fund additional care costs for children or elders?    [or - does the Uni need to create a fund which can cover requests under any of these headings perhaps]

I think this is probably one of those grey areas where we are not absolutely requried to do something - but it could certainly be considered good practice to do it....
regards, Deb

On 22 March 2012 13:03, Pamela Graham <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Dear Equality colleagues


We have a member of our academic staff whose spouse has advanced MS and cannot be left unattended.  The result is that the academic cannot attend a conference unless the spouse is provided with respite care, at a cost of around £100 per day.  We are discussing whether it would be reasonable for that care to be reimbursed/paid for by the University as his employer. This would be on the grounds of it being  a reasonable adjustment for someone who is experiencing disability by association.

We have asked  HMRC who said that “the costs are not covered by an HMRC income tax exemption nor can we claim that they are incurred in the performance of the duties of an employee’s employment”. So it would not go through the expenses system without tax free. I wonder if they have considered the implications of the Equality Act?

Does anyone have experience of this sort of query? Any suggestions?

Many thanks


Pamela Graham

Equality and Diversity Adviser (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday)

+44(0)191 222 5974


Newcastle University

King's Gate

Newcastle upon Tyne



Deb Viney, Diversity Advisor
School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS),
Thornhaugh Street,
Russell Square, London, WC1H 0XG
tel: 0207 898 4957
email: [log in to unmask]