Childcare needs on the rise for 3 in 4 UK workers

More employees now expect employers to offer childcare support during COVID-19, with hundreds of thousands of children being sent home from school since they re-opened in September.

The long-term effects of COVID-19 have changed UK parents’ outlook on childcare for good, according to a new survey – and they’re turning to their employers for help.

Highlights

  • Just under three-quarters of parents claim they need more childcare, or for their existing childcare to be more flexible as a long-term result of the pandemic.
  • A quarter of parents said their need for childcare support had increased as a result of COVID.
  • 94% of working parents believe it’s important, even vital, for their employer to support them when it comes to childcare.
  • Parents suggest increase their loyalty to the business (85%) and boost their productivity too (76%).
  • Many parents said their workplace offered them no access or financial support when it comes to childcare (73%).

In a survey of over 1,000 parents by childcare app Bubble, nearly three-quarters said they need more childcare, or for their existing childcare to be more flexible as a long-term result of the pandemic.

25% of parents said their need for childcare support had increased as a result of COVID. Only 10% said it had reduced.

At the same time, 48% of those surveyed said they’d need the same amount of childcare going forward, but their needs would be more adhoc and flexible.

94% of working parents believe it’s important, even vital, for their employer to support them when it comes to childcare. It would increase their loyalty to the business (85%) and boost their productivity too (76%).

However, despite this, 73% of parents – equating to 27 million people in the UK – said their workplace offered them no access or financial support when it comes to childcare.

“Bubble has been a godsend during the pandemic – I simply couldn’t have coped without it,” said Tara Grossman, partner at a London law firm, and parent of three. “I’m happier, healthier and more productive at work when I’m not stressed about childcare, and every working parent I know is the same.”

“Covid has made the juggle between my work and family life that much harder.”

“In my line of work, I see the difference between employers who are supporting their parents on this issue and those who aren’t,” she added. “It’s something all businesses should be investing in, particularly if you want to attract and retain the best people, it’s a no brainer.”

According to Ari Last, founder of Bubble, the pandemic has accelerated an already growing trend of employees with children needing more flexibility and convenience when it comes to childcare. It’s now time for employers to catch up.

“We’re working more flexibly, we’re working ad-hoc hours and we’re working differently all round. We also face ongoing uncertainty in terms of when our kids will be in schools and nursery settings, with hundreds of thousands of school children being sent home from school since they re-opened in September,” he said. “For some parents this may mean they need more hours from a childcare provider, some may need less and for many – this may change week to week.”

“For employers, the business case is clear. Supporting parents in their workforce will improve their mental health, their productivity and their all-round commitment to their business.”

It will help foster diversity and gender equality too – something under further attack since the onset of the pandemic, Last added.

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