The campaign group Pregnant Then Screwed has carried out a survey to understand more about the cost and impact of childcare on families, it has found that the exorbitant cost of childcare creates financial anxiety in 84% of households. These findings support recent research by the OECD that singled-out the UK as having the most expensive childcare system in the world with 35.7% of income being spent on it (OECD, April 2019).
The financial burden of childcare has meant that 17% of parents have had to leave their jobs, with 62% saying they work fewer hours because of childcare costs. It is mostly women who bear the brunt of childcare, so this further adds to the motherhood penalty and the gender pay gap.
Retaining female talent and creating a labour market that works for women will be imperative in post Brexit Britain with nine out of ten companies already saying they have a skills shortage. Some 62% of parents work fewer hours because of childcare costs, 22% feel they cannot work because of childcare costs, and a further 22% have had to leave their job due to a lack of flexible childcare.
Joeli Brearley, founder of Pregnant Then Screwed, said: “Our latest piece of research highlights exactly why women fall behind in the workplace, and that is because of the punitive costs of childcare. If we are to change the landscape for women, and parents, we need to provide properly subsidised childcare from 9 months old.
“Our childcare system is failing parents, it is failing childcare providers and it is failing childcare staff. We need the Government to create a childcare system that works so that nurseries can stay open and provide good quality care and so that we can close the gender pay gap and start to tackle the motherhood penalty.’’
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