Changes to childcare 2017
Next year, Childcare Vouchers will be replaced for good, marking an enormous change in the way the government supports their parenting population, and affecting millions of families and thousands of companies across the UK.
With the increase of free childcare from 15 hours to 30 hours per week for three to four year olds - and Tax-Free Childcare set to launch - it's understandable that confusion is rife amongst parents and employers alike.
How will employers adapt to these changes?
Employers will be busy searching for new and innovative ways to replace their offering of childcare vouchers and promote their family-friendly ethos. To help businesses benchmark themselves against others in their industry, My Family Care, the UK's leading provider of family-friendly employer solutions, and global recruitment experts, Hydrogen, have undertaken some research amongst HR Professionals in the UK as to what they see as the priorities and concerns for the coming months.
The survey of 300 HR professionals revealed a huge range of policies to help their staff. The most popular were:
- Employee helpline/assistance programme
- Proactive support and communication of flexible working
- Encouraging other types of leave (e.g. unpaid parental leave/additional holiday purchase)
- Family events at work (e.g. summer or Christmas parties)
- Advice/help with adult dependent or eldercare solutions
- Advice/help with childcare solutions which may/may not be part of a wider helpline
- Coaching/training for managers on supporting working parents/carers
- Backup care in childcare emergencies
- Parents network
- Seminars/webinars on parenting/caring related topic
Find out exactly how employers are supporting their working parents and carers, and what they plan on implementing in the future. Download full research results
Nearly 3/4 of employers say retaining female talent is 2017's most important HR issue
Most employers revealed that flexible working, and supporting working parents and carers was important to them but, strikingly, nearly three quarters (70%) rate the issue of retaining female talent after parental leave as the most important issue. However, 60% of HR professionals said their company provided no form of coaching or training support for their employees going through the parental transition.
When it comes to the success of their family-friendly initiatives, flexible working proved to be the most successful, followed by their Childcare Voucher Scheme and then enhanced maternity or Shared Parental pay (SPP).
When employees choose to take time off with the arrival of a new baby, it seems the enhancement of Shared Parental pay is still far behind the enhancement of Maternity or Adoption pay, with 57% of respondents enhancing the latter, but just one in four (25%) enhancing Shared Parental pay. However, of those who don't enhance SPL, 60% say they were reviewing their policies and may enhance in the future.
Ben Black's comment
Ben Black, CEO of My Family Care says:
"Every HR professional wants to know how they compare to their competitors when retaining and attracting talent, so we hope this report proves insightful."
"The most enlightening finding was the fact that nearly three quarters of employers said the issue of retaining female talent after parental leave was the most important issue but, shockingly, just 40% said they provided support for employees going through the parental leave transition. Employers need to understand that if they want to attract and retain the best female staff - who would like to have both a career and a family - they need to make changes to help them. Things are slowly changing - but they need to change much, much faster!"
Ian Temple's comment
Ian Temple, CEO of Hydrogen says:
"As a specialist recruiter, we see first-hand how hard it is for organisations to find the right people with the right skills, especially in the context of an increasing UK skills gap. Those that want to create or maintain a diverse and highly skilled workforce need to work harder than ever before to support their existing staff throughout their career and life."
"Family-friendly benefits are slowly improving amongst some forward thinking employers; enhanced maternity or paternity pay, remote and flexible working arrangements are becoming more commonplace, but for many employers there is still a huge amount of work to be done. The line between life and work is blurring and for many of the highly skilled people that we talk to, family-friendly benefits are now a high impact decision factor when seeking a new role."
Within the report, there is an intricate breakdown between businesses and their enhancement of maternity, adoption, paternity and Shared Parental Leave benefits to enable companies to benchmark where they compared with others. On an observational level, based on the limited numbers available, it appears the public sector and higher education are the most 'generous' employers. Perhaps not surprisingly, the more traditionally male oriented sectors, especially industrial and manufacturing, enhance maternity leave to a lesser extent than other sectors. Service based industries such as legal and banking and finance, which have historically been seen as less than female friendly, enhance their maternity leave to a much greater extent.
The sectors where many organisations enhance SPL are those who are already committed to significant maternity and paternity benefit enhancement; public sector, banking and finance, legal, charity, and technology and telecoms.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can also read our answers to some Frequently Asked Questions surrounding the changes to Childcare Vouchers, What Tax-Free Childcare is, and how 30 Hours of Free Childcare will work.