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What will changes to childcare support mean for the workplace?

13 February 2024 2 min read

What new UK childcare support changes will mean for the workplace

The UK government is introducing a phased expansion of childcare support available to parents from April 2024, as part of a plan to entice people back into work and drive economic growth. In this blog, we look at what the changes to childcare support entail, and what impact they may have in the workplace.

What are the changes going to be?

Under the current offer in England, all parents and carers of 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to 15 hours of childcare support per week – with eligible working parents and carers entitled to a further 15 hours (30 hours per week in total).

With the new provision, eligible working parents and carers of children under 2 years old will also be entitled to 15 hours of childcare support each week.

And by September 2025, most working families with children under the age of 5 years old will have childcare support available to them.

What impact will the changes have in the workplace?

The availability of childcare support to more families may mean more opportunities on the job market – helping to attract a skilled pool of talent into a more diverse workforce.

According to the Office for National Statistics, around 1.8 million women do not work because of caring responsibilities, so this new offer could be especially helpful to women who are looking to return to work.

The extra support may also mean that parents are able to return to work sooner after taking parental leave, perhaps switching roles or career paths along the way.

Employers don’t have to do anything in preparation for the upcoming childcare support changes – but it is worth considering the opportunity that the changes may present for the UK job market.

Whilst not needing to implement any new policies in anticipation of these upcoming changes, employers could consider reviewing, updating or enhancing any existing policies they have around parents, flexibility, and hybrid working. Doing so could help to make their organisation more attractive to parents returning to the world of work.

Whilst some argue that the changes to childcare support don’t go far enough to cover the costs that many parents face, and that the number of childcare places won’t be able to meet the demand, it will be interesting to see how significant an impact the new offer has on parents in the workplace.

Georgina at edays
February 13, 2024

Georgina Mackintosh is an accomplished copywriter and marketing professional with a background that spans several industries. Her writing focuses on HR topics such as employee wellbeing, engagement and experience - as well as absence management best practice, how-to guides and news from the HR sector.