Call for more large companies to subsidise childcare

Research into the ambitions of 1,000 working parents by Cuckooz Nest, an innovative workspace and integrated nursery company, highlights the gap between many working parents’ aspirations and the reality.

Image of man dressed in a suit working on a laptop with a pushchair by his side
Among the key findings is strong support (91%) for the view that government should provide more tax relief on childcare costs from an earlier age to encourage more parents to return to work and sooner.A similarly high proportion (85%) of those surveyed also believe large employers have a key role in bridging the gap, calling for more big companies to subsidise childcare costs for employees. 

How can good childcare support parents’ careers?

Assessing the impact of childcare provision and cost on their careers, 46% of working adults view childcare costs as the main obstacle when going back to work given the cost of childcare in relation to their salary.With other studies citing high childcare costs as a factor in the gender pay gap and female progression at work – especially as family size grows – 50% of fathers surveyed agreed finance was the main reason for not taking shared parental leaveJust 16% of working fathers also said they had no interest in exercising their right to request this, highlighting the missed opportunity already identified by campaigners looking to support more men to take up shared parental leave.
Call for parental leave reforms as policies 'failing fathers'

Working parents and flexibility

Interestingly, although 52% said that they were happy to wait until their child was between the ages of one and two before returning to work, Cuckooz Nest found 65% of parents would return from maternity or paternity leave sooner if they could access more flexible childcare arrangements.Flexibility was the second largest obstacle at 28%, with just 15% stating separation from their child as the hardest barrier when returning to work.
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Many day nurseries require contractual payment for regular hours, which can be challenging for people who work on non-standard contracts, like annualised or zero-hours contracts.Affordability and flexibility can also impact the scope of career opportunities open to parents. Just over half (52%) are unwilling to commute for up to 30 minutes and 39% for just an hour. 

Giving working parents a better deal

The survey suggests a gap between working parents’ career aspirations and opportunity for legislative and corporate frameworks to more closely align with their ambitions.Cuckooz Nest is calling on big businesses to do more to support mothers and fathers returning from parental leave and to consider the changes they can make to do this.Says Charlie Rosier, co-founder of Cuckooz Nest: “Childcare has always been a hot topic and while parents want to secure the best option possible for their child, the lack of flexibility and the high cost of doing so can often mean this just isn’t the case. “We’ve seen the difference on-site childcare can have first-hand via Cuckooz Nest when facilitating new mums and dads, their early return to work and the positive impact it brings.“But for many, this isn’t a luxury they can afford and more has to be done to breach this financial barrier to provide flexible, affordable childcare for everyone.“Of course, there are changes the government can make but we really want to see Britain’s big businesses take the lead and get behind this initiative, whether it’s to provide an on-site nursery or to subsidise the cost for its employees.” Head to our HR section for more news and insight.  
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