Childcare Entitlements and Support in the Workplace

Friday 19 January 2024
Discover insights on government childcare entitlements and workplace support from a recent CMI panel survey, featuring the experiences of 166 managers with young children
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Do you know about government-provided childcare entitlements? Does your organisation provide childcare support for employees?

Through a recent survey conducted among 166 managers with children under the age of 16 from our CMI insights panel, we aim to uncover valuable perspectives on government-provided childcare entitlements and the support offered by organisations. We explore the findings below, shedding light on the opinions surrounding childcare support in the workplace.

Awareness of Government Schemes

The results revealed a general lack of awareness of government-provided childcare entitlements with only a third of managers (36%) saying that their organisation had provided information about these and more than half saying they had not (53%).

When provided, this information was most commonly featured in toolkits or information on a company intranet (64%) or in employee handbooks (24%). One in seven people said they had also found out about childcare entitlements from their line managers (14%).

However, even when organisations did provide information it was, on the whole, incomplete. For example, while three quarters of managers (76%) had been informed about tax free childcare for working families, only a third had been told about 15 hours free childcare for all 3 & 4 year olds (32%) and only a quarter knew about 30 hours free childcare for 3 & 4 years in working families (27%). At the bottom end of the scale, only 15% of those whose organisation had provided information about government-provided childcare entitlements had been informed about the availability of Universal Credit for childcare.

Graph showing that tax-free childcare for working families is the most popular government childcare entitlement that organisations provide information on.

Figure 1: Please select the government childcare entitlements that your organisation has provided information on from the list below. Please select all that apply.

The questionnaire found that most people would prefer to find out about government-provided childcare entitlements through their staff intranet (72%), employee handbook (53%), or staff parenting groups (38%). One quarter (26%) also favoured direct conversations with their line manager.

Organisational Support

As well as government-provided childcare entitlements, organisations are also offering a range of different initiatives to support their employees with childcare. Almost three quarters (73%) of managers said that their organisation had a ‘flexible working’ policy to support childcare commitments, including part-time, term time, ad-hoc, or short notice flexibility. Other initiatives that organisations have in place to support employees with childcare included a ‘salary sacrifice’ scheme available to support childcare costs (30%) and access to a parents network (14%).

There were however, over one in 10 managers who said that their organisation did not offer any of the initiatives listed to support childcare (12%).

Graph showing that flexible working, including part-time, term time, ad hoc or short notice flexibility is the most popular intiative to help with childcare.

Figure 2: Does your organisation currently offer any of the following initiatives to support you with childcare? Please select all that apply.

What will help managers with childcare responsibilities at work?

When asked what the single most important thing their organisation could offer to support them with childcare, the majority of managers cited flexible working policies (45%). Almost a third, however, felt that funding for breakfast, after school or holiday clubs would be the most helpful initiative (29%) and 16% opted for salary sacrifice for childcare care costs.

This work has highlighted that there is a wide-spread lack of awareness around the childcare entitlements available to parents. It has also identified some of the ways in which organisations are currently supporting their employees with childcare as well as what parents would find most useful.