Childcare for Working Parents

Could your organisation consider supporting your employees with childcare for working parents?

‘Good childcare is the secret sauce of contented working parenthood’
Hobey, ‘The Working Gal’s Guide to Babyville’

This week, the government announced plans to bring forward the doubling of free childcare to 3-4 years to next year.  This has, however, once again questioned the extent to which our childcare providers can afford to do this and highlighted the lack of funding for quality childcare.

Couple of points here:

  1. Quality over quantity: Extra funded hours will help working parents financially, however the quality of the childcare is the key.  For a parent to be able to return to work, they have to have 100% confidence that their child is safe, happy and well-cared for when they are left in childcare.  Without this, the parent will no doubt decide not to leave them in childcare and not to return to work.
  2. The funded childcare hours need to start from age 12 months onwards – this is the time when most people are returning to work after maternity/parental leave.  If a parent waits until his or her child is 3 years old before being able to afford to return to work, more career support needs to be given to parents to bridge 3 years out of work.  It’s a hard enough hit on your career taking 1 year out!  Business culture also needs to evolve to accommodate those who have been out of the workplace for longer.

See the full article here:

One solution is for businesses to consider sponsoring their own childcare solutions.  Working Families and Bright Horizons have produced a guide for employers to help their staff find childcare – see here for more details.  The guide highlights some of the things that employers could do to support their employees with their childcare – the key elements being:

What you can provide as an employer when it comes to childcare for working parents

  • On-site nursery
  • Access to back-up childcare
  • Offer childcare vouchers via salary sacrifice or a childcare subsidy/allowance through payroll
  • Offer local childcare deals, through partnerships with local providers
  • Offer flexible working options and consider all requests fairly
  • Information on available employer-provided childcare
  • Access to information on local childcare provision
  • Information on paying for childcare and, if appropriate, how you support this as an employer

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