A change in flexible working & childcare support is long overdue. With many parents demanding a more flexible approach to work-life, and the clear benefits to both employers and employees, it is time to normalise flexible working practices. Forward-thinking companies need to lead the way and answer the calls for flexible working.
A more inclusive year-round childcare support system also needs to be implemented, to provide affordable childcare for children of all ages. Flexible working and accessible childcare policies go hand-in-hand. One without the other will not fix the childcare crisis faced by working parents across the UK. We’ve recently written articles on the top 10 flexible working arrangements and the benefit of flexible working.
Flexible Working & Unmet Needs
It is understandable that many companies feel their hands are tied since the government closed the childcare voucher scheme in 2018, leaving them with zero input.
The figures speak for themselves: 86% of parents want to work flexibly, but only 49% do¹. The reasons given for this reality should leave British companies embarrassed – 37% say flexible working is not available at their place of work, whilst 1 in 10 express their line manager dislikes flexible working¹.
Nonetheless, it is unacceptable that working parents cannot work flexibly if they so wish. Flexible working has been proven to enhance productivity and profitability for companies, and promote personal and social wellbeing for employees.
Childcare in the UK is the most expensive in Europe², and working parents are struggling to make ends meet – with some paying 55% of their salary towards childcare. For many working parents the figures do not balance. So it’s no surprise that more than a third of working women decide to quit their professional roles after having a child³. For those parents who do return to work, 36% comment that it is only financially viable to work part-time³.
Women are the most affected by the lack of flexible work opportunities and affordable childcare. Mothers makeup 92% of the part-time workforce¹, and are sacrificing career progression and financial stability as a result. Disgracefully, mothers wait 2 years more on average than fathers for a promotion¹.
The higher percentage of part-time work and lower positions for mothers has an impact on their future too. The People’s Pension highlights the gender pensions gap is far greater than the gender pay gap. Female pensioners are £7,000 per year worse off than their male counterparts³.
The mounting difficulties and prevalent inequalities faced by working parents, causes many to wonder if working really pays in contemporary Britain. There is no support for childcare funding to cover non-Ofsted registered professional childcare provision, and with the cost of childcare rising above-average wage increases, it is almost impossible for working parents to secure affordable childcare without getting into debt.
Change Is Needed
But it does not need to be this way. A positive flexible work culture can be achieved if we change the cultural narrative surrounding flexible work arrangements. Companies can assess and educate themselves on the benefits of developing a framework designed to encapsulate flexible working positions and affordable childcare.
If organisations adopt progressive workplace arrangements, everyone can benefit from a productive work-life balance. We can leave the out-of-date structure behind and move forward into an ideal working practice.
The Solution – ParentFlex
At Catapillr we are proud to announce our visionary ParentFlex Model. The forward-thinking inclusive framework employers and employees have been looking for. We’re focused on investing in you and your future with an alternative to the current working model. ParentFlex promotes flexible working and a new employee benefit – the Childcare Cash Advance Scheme (CCAS).
(C-CAS) is more inclusive than any other childcare program. It supports both working parents and companies in their growth by providing childcare funding to parents, and an attractive employee benefit for valuable staff.
Here’s how it compares to the tax-free childcare scheme offered by the government:
It is clear that C-CAS offers more – meeting the current demands for an employer-backed childcare support system. A scheme that ensures flexible working is successful, and everyone’s time and money is well spent.
What Is It?
C-CAS is an immediately available 12-month interest-free loan, which can be offered by companies to employees to specifically fund childcare costs. It offers unique pre-funded access to Ofsted registered and professional childcare providers. Essentially meaning that it can be used upfront to pay for tutors, after-school clubs, holiday clubs, and any other professional childcare provider. This is a fresh approach to supporting parents with childcare, removing limitations and financial burdens that have previously thwarted access to a wide range of childcare provisions.
HMRC supports using a scheme such as C-CAS in conjunction with a government tax-free childcare account. This means working parents can also benefit from the government’s 20% top-up – giving parents more money towards childcare.
How Does It Work?
C-CAS is easy, straightforward and affordable to implement:
- Immediately available once registered at Catapillr.com
- One easy online platform to create an account – access the account – and pay for childcare
- Available as a mobile app for on-the-go accessibility
- A supportive network always on hand to help with queries
A no-fuss quick and easy sign-up process for companies and employees – the benefits can be enjoyed immediately. Parents can rest assured their childcare costs are covered from the get-go and supported by their employer, leaving them with more headspace and a greater sense of wellbeing.
At last, there is a solution to the childcare crisis felt by working parents across the UK. Working parents will no longer have to suffer from spiralling costs, debt, and stress-related to childcare provision whilst they try to earn a living. Together we can bring about a positive social change and build a thriving workforce that emanates the values we cherish. Together we are ParentFlex.