Working parents – why your organisation needs a new plan for 2013

What is your organisation planning to do for its working parents in 2013?

You may not have asked yourself the question but reflecting on ten days of media interest, it’s one that I think smart employers should be thinking about as it looks like being a debate which won’t go away.

For a start there is the issue of the impending loss of child benefit for most upper rate tax payers. If there are two things we can learn from the acres of coverage this is now getting in the mainstream media it is that firstly, employees, however smart and whatever their tax band, don’t get what the impact will be. Secondly, there is a lot that we can still do with salary sacrifice and education to help mitigate or help a substantial number preserve this important contribution to their household budgets.

Then there is the issue of childcare costs which, if this week’s report on Newsnight is to be believed, looks set to come back into the headlines in January with new rules for child minders allowing them to care for more children in order to help shrink the crippling costs of childcare in the UK for parents. The numbers in this report remind us – not that we should need reminding – of why it is so important we all help with the challenge of childcare: the costs to parents amount to some 27% of take home pay while the cost to employers is an estimated one million women lost from the workforce.

Lastly, and more positively, there is the ‘Duchess of Cambridge affect’. It is hard to believe that it is only a week since the news of the imminent Royal baby broke with endless dissection of morning sickness and the impact on the Royal duties. We can expect more of the same for the next year and as we live through the Royal pregnancy and the birth, we can expect parenting to become as much of the national conversation in 2013 as the performance of our Olympians did in 2012.

It’s my experience that even the organisations who go out of their way to look after working parents can benefit from reviewing, reinvigorating and re-explaining to parents the support they can get to maximise take-up of benefits and ensure that employees are taking advantage of the HR policies in place to support them.

Given the agenda for the year ahead I think now would be the time to put this at the top of your to do list for January.

Follow @andy_philpott

Author: Andy Philpott | Category: Blog | 13/12/2012 | 0

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