You’d think that with so many options available to parents who want to work – part-time, temp roles, flexi-working, home-working – it would be straightforward for mums to go back into employment after giving birth. But new figures suggest the spiralling cost of childcare means that many mothers believe it ‘does not pay to work’.
The Family and Childcare Trust have released the results of the annual Childcare Costs Survey 2015. They found that it costs on average £115.45 to send a child under the age of two to nursery for 25 hours a week in Britain – that’s a whopping £6,003 per year and up 5.1% increase on last year.
Even part-time care can prove costly, up 4.3% on last year, an average of £104.06 per week, or £5,411 a year.
But the figures do not take into account measures made by many employers to ease the financial strain of coming back to work. Big companies in Dorset and Hampshire offer Childcare Vouchers to their staff to enable them to continue to work, whereas in some cases they may even pay for childcare – in certain management positions, for example.
Research has found that nearly nine in ten employers currently offer childcare vouchers to staff, which are reported to be used ‘more intensively’ by working lone parents than by couples.
The onus is also on the council to help working parents. The survey found just 43% of councils in England fulfilling their legal obligation to provide childcare for working parents, compared with 54% last year. The government’s tax-free childcare initiative, announced at the last budget, also means eligible families will be able to claim a 20 per cent rebate on their childcare costs up to a limit of £2,000 per child.
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