Support for working parents? Don’t leave it until 2015

It started with a report launched with relatively little fanfare in May 2012 by the MP Liz Truss.  Now, in the wake of last month’s announcement around the future support for working parents, childcare is guaranteed to be one of the big issues in the battle for the hearts and minds of working parents ahead of the 2015 election.

With working parents making up such a substantial proportion of the workforce, how they are impacted by these changes is a big deal for employers too.

One worrying consequence arising from the introduction of a new scheme to support working parents, is that by shifting the link from the employer to the state, employees may be worse off: not just financially but in terms of the fuller package of support they get from employers.

Given that many organisations acknowledge that right now they can and should be doing more, not less to help working parents, this is a shame.

With a substantial time lag between now and the introduction of the new scheme in 2015 – if indeed it survives the parliamentary process and the intervening election – and many families still struggling with rising childcare costs, I would argue that now is the time for employers to up their game around working parents to protect and support them.

The most urgent action is to ensure that every person who can benefit from childcare vouchers is able to do so from today. This means signing up for a scheme if you don’t have one and communicating its benefits on a sustained basis between now and 2015.

Doing this buys employees choice to stay in the current scheme in the case they are worse off or, as with Universal Credit, implementation is botched or late.

There is also a role for employers in understanding the impact on employees and explaining it to them so they make the right choices if and when the scheme launched in 2015.

Outside of that employers will need to think about how they show their support for working parents beyond that date.

Changes to HR policy which help parents juggle working hours around childcare availability and removing areas where organisations inadvertently make life more difficult for working parents through their culture will take time to put in place.

On each of these fronts, the time to act is now. 

This article was written by Andy Philpott 

  

Find out more about why you should start a Childcare Vouchers scheme >

 

 

Author: Andy Philpott | Category: Blog | 06/04/2014 | 0

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