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A new survey by Pregnant Then Screwed highlights the impact of high childcare costs on parents’ ability to work full time or to work at all.
Nearly a fifth of parents has had to leave work after having children due to the cost of childcare, with nearly two thirds saying they have had to reduce hours, according to a new survey.
The survey of 1,800 parents by Pregnant Then Screwed shows that the cost of childcare in the UK creates financial anxiety in 84% of households. The OECD recently singled out the UK as having the most expensive childcare system in the world with 35.7% of family income being spent on it.
Pregnant Then Screwed says 17% of parents – mainly women – have had to leave their jobs due to the cost of children, with 62% saying they work fewer hours because of childcare costs. Twenty two per cent of parents feel they cannot work because of childcare costs and a further 22% have had to leave their jobs 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 nine months old.
“The Government have introduced 30 hours ‘free’ childcare for children from three years old and tax-free childcare for employees; this is not enough and impacts not only the parents but childcare providers as they are unable to cover the cost of delivery. Women only get one year of maternity leave with only nine months paid, so there are two years that they either stay at home with the children because of the high cost of childcare or return to work with a huge bill hanging over them – with many reducing their hours in order to strike a balance.
“Childcare is infrastructure. 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.’’