Salary Sacrifice Scheme

New or existing employees of the University (but not employees of other organisations working within University departments) are able to benefit from savings on the cost of fees at University Nurseries if they are eligible to join the University Salary Sacrifice Scheme.

Under this scheme, the employee agrees to reduce their salary by the amount of their nursery fee and in return benefits from lower tax and national insurance deductions on the reduced salary. The salary deduction is paid direct by the University to the nursery provider.

The scheme covers all the University Nurseries, as well as the University-owned spaces with our Community Nurseries under a Workplace Nursery Agreement. Parents whose children attend participating College Nurseries may also benefit from the scheme. Employees using other nurseries are not eligible for the scheme.

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Employees who decide to participate sign a written agreement amending their employment contract to reduce their salary by the equivalent cost of their nursery fees. The fees are paid by the University direct to the nursery provider. Fees are deducted retrospectively, i.e. nursery fees are deducted from your salary at the end of the month.


Other conditions of the scheme:

  • This scheme is exclusive to employees of the University of Oxford and some college employees (and not employees of other organisations working within University departments).
  • All employees using university nurseries are eligible, provided that their salary is greater than the cost of their nursery fees. Please note that when using the salary sacrifice scheme, the amount deducted must not take your pay below minimum wage level (as this is an HMRC requirement).
  • The University has received HMRC approval for the scheme. The scheme will be reviewed and, if appropriate, amended or withdrawn if HMRC rules change.
  • If you choose to withdraw from the scheme for any other reason than a 'Life Change Event' (see below) you will not be permitted to rejoin at a later date.

Under the scheme, the employee's income tax and national insurance are based on the new (lower) salary, thus allowing a saving to be made.

Employees who are members of the OSPS pension scheme or USS pension scheme will pay pension contributions based on the normal (unreduced) salary.

The University benefits from the scheme by making savings on employer's national insurance contributions, which are based on the employee's reduced salary. The University uses these savings to invest in childcare provision.


If you receive your salary from a college and are not paid through central university payroll, you may be able to benefit from the salary sacrifice scheme. Please check with your college finance or HR department for local arrangements.

While you are on Statutory Maternity Pay or unpaid leave (whether for maternity, sick leave, or other reason), you will have to cease participation in the salary sacrifice scheme. It is your responsibility to inform Childcare Services of this and to arrange to pay the full fees direct to us. When you return to work you should complete a new salary sacrifice form in order to rejoin the scheme and re-commence the deductions from salary.

Parents must inform the Childcare Services Department in writing ( ) giving at least two months' notice if they intend to leave the scheme. Parents are also obliged to provide at least two months' notice to their nursery provider when leaving a nursery. When the employee leaves the scheme and continues in employment with the University, the deduction from their salary will be discontinued.

Please note that you may only withdraw from the scheme when your child leaves the nursery, if you experience a ‘Life Change Event’ or if your employment ends.

If you experience a 'Life Change Event', you may choose to either withdraw from the scheme or make changes to your salary sacrifice arrangements. In this case you will need to notify the University in writing via Childcare Services, giving two months notice. Please note that if you choose to withdraw from the scheme for any other reason, you will not be permitted to rejoin at a later date.

A 'Life Change Event', as defined by HMRC, is:

•    leaving to go on maternity leave, parental leave, paternity leave or adoption leave
•    returning from maternity leave, parental leave, paternity leave or adoption leave
•    termination of your or your partner’s employment
•    change of your or your partner’s employment or hours of work
•    relocation - home or office
•    death of a family member or dependant which affects your use of the Childcare Scheme
•    marriage, divorce or legal separation
•    significant change in childcare arrangements/circumstances, e.g. child starts school
•    long term sickness, or starting receipt of long-term disability benefit
•    returning from long-term disability
•    long term sickness of a child
•    the ending of a Life Change Event

Finance Enquiries

University Nurseries

01865 289835


Community Nurseries

01865 289841 

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