Parents ‘quitting jobs over childcare costs’

Parents are turning down chances to work, quitting their jobs and having to borrow due to the high cost of childcare, according to a survey by Daycare Trust and Mumsnet.

The survey found over a third of parents taking part in the survey have considered quitting their job because of childcare costs. More than one in ten (12%) have left a job because of childcare costs and one in five have turned down a job due to childcare costs. Some 37% pay the same or more for their childcare than they do on their rent or mortgage and 14% have borrowed from friends, family or on credit cards to pay for childcare fees. Some 17% have been unable to pay for childcare fees on time.

Parents are keen for both government and employers to improve support, the survey found. Some 77% of respondents don’t think the government does enough to support parents with the cost of childcare and 47% agree employers should contribute more to the cost of childcare.

It also found that parents would accept fewer benefits if the cost of childcare fell. Over half of parents (61%) responding said they would be happy to receive fewer benefits, eg a freeze in child benefit for 10 years, if childcare was made free or more affordable.

But a change in the level of childcare staffing to reduce costs, currently under consideration by the Childcare Commission, was not widely welcome. Only 5 % of parents supported a reduction in the number of childcare staff, even if it meant that costs were reduced for parents and half of parents felt that childminders should be able to look after a maximum of three children under the age of 5 (in-line with current regulations), while 20% believe it should be a maximum of two.

Anand Shukla, Chief Executive of Daycare Trust, said: “This survey clearly sets out just how big a barrier childcare costs are for parents looking to stay in or enter the labour market. Affordable, high quality childcare is good for child development, enables families to be financially self-sufficient, and ensures businesses have access to the widest possible pool of talent. This survey clearly shows that while parents want affordable childcare they are not prepared for quality to be compromised. The government’s new Childcare Commission should pay heed when considering how to ease the burden of childcare costs for parents.”

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