Survey highlights extent of continuing childcare issues for parents

A new TUC survey shows 41% of working mums will not have – or are worried they will not have – sufficient childcare to cover the hours they need to work even after schools go back.



Forty-one per cent of working mums with children under 10 can’t get – or are unsure whether they will get – enough childcare to cover the hours they need for work this September, according to a new TUC poll.

An ICM survey of 2,001 working mums shows nearly half (45%) said they don’t have their usual help from friends and family; more than a third (35%) can’t get places at afterschool clubs; 28% have lost childcare provided by school breakfast clubs; and 28% don’t have their usual nursery or childminder available.

The poll also shows 90% of working mums said they have taken on more childcare responsibilities since the pandemic began. Forty three per cent said they have had to combine working at home and childcare – compared to 29% of their partners. Thirty per cent said they regularly worked early in the morning (pre-8am) or late at night (post-8pm) to balance work and childcare and 16% – mostly those in low-paid jobs – said that they have had no choice but to reduce their working hours.

All of this has had an impact on their work. Nearly 1 in 5 (18%) said that they were worried that balancing work and childcare has affected how they will be assessed by their manager and 16% told the TUC they were worried that it has impacted their chances of a promotion in the future.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Women workers have borne the brunt of this crisis – both on the frontline and at home.

“Mums have picked up the majority of childcare while nurseries and schools have been closed. And many have sacrificed hours and pay to do so – especially those in low-paid jobs who can least afford the financial hit.

“But this can’t go on. If we don’t take this childcare crisis seriously women will be pushed out of the workforce, turning the clock back on decades of labour market progress.

“Childcare providers desperately need new government cash to stay open. And we need an extension to the job retention scheme for mums and dads who can’t return to work because of childcare responsibilities.”

The TUC is calling on the government to keep the option of furlough should remain in place beyond October to support parents who are unable to return to work because of childcare responsibilities until schools and childcare settings are fully reopened;  provide an urgent cash boost to childcare providers and give staff the right to work as flexibly as possible from their first day in the job.

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