One of the founding tenets of Boffin Recruitment was to create a flexible working environment that suited the needs of a modern workforce. Many of us in the company are parents and we need our job to fit around our home lives and not vice versa.
Even allowing for such flexibility the school holidays can be a challenge in terms of finding childcare. For those constrained by the traditional 9-5, Monday to Friday roles it is even more of a headache.
Since 2010 the cost of holiday childcare has risen by over 50% compared to a rise in salaries of only 13% over the same period. On average a week's care costs £124 per child but these prices fluctuate wildly across the country. Research shows that local authority provision is generally the cheapest option however, it only covers 12.5% of the spaces required.
There is currently a real government push to get people back into work and it is the poorest areas that are suffering the most. In a low paid job the cost of holiday are can often outstrip the wages being paid.
In a bid to combat this issue some larger companies are offering on site childcare. Businesses such as Toyota, Microsoft and Royal Mail all have in house options but only 5% of UK workplaces offer this. Even when they do the holidays are still a tough time. Goldman Sachs employs 5500 people at its Fleet St office. 20% of those are registered users of the Children's Centre. The problem comes when the holidays start as there are only a limited number of places for 5-12 year-olds and the waiting list is huge.
There is a knock-on effect to the holiday childcare issue. As a result of suitable options often being limited particularly in low paid roles, maternal employment rates in the UK are 27% lower than in other Western nations. At a time when gender issues of pay and employment are so prevalent it seems crazy that more isn't being done to address this.
Unfortunately there isn't a quick fix to this problem. Suggestions of parent run day schemes and inter-generational centres still require huge amounts of flexibility and money. With the government making cuts it looks unlikely that funding for universal childcare comparable to other European countries is an option either.
The ability to work and provide childcare for your children should never be an "either, or" choice but until something drastic changes in the UK for many that is the only option.
Job of the Week
Senior HR Advisor
Maintain regular contact with managers throughout the business.
Provide trusted and commercially focused advice to all managers regarding employee relations, grievances, sickness absences and more.
Assist the HR Co-ordinator in dealing with incoming staff and management issues.
If this sounds like you or someone you know please get in touch here!
On This Day
On this day in 1865 Welsh settlers arrived in Chubut, Argentina. They had fled Wales in a bid to protect their language and culture. To this day there are still over 20,000 Welsh speakers in Argentina.
This weekend, just an hour from Paddington by train is the Riverside festival in Charlbury, Oxfordshire. It is one of the largest free festivals in the region and is very family friendly. There will be music, food and all kinds of activities for the kids. Find out more here.
Fact Of The Week
Today is both Walk On Stilts Day AND Scotch Whiskey Day. The Weekly Boffin doesn't want to be known as the Fun Police but can we politely suggest that you keep the two things separate.