2 in 5 working mums face childcare crisis – #COVID19

Around 2 in 5 (41%) working mums with children under 10 can’t get – or are unsure whether they will get – enough childcare to cover the hours they need for work this September, according to a new TUC poll

As children around England begin to return to school, an ICM survey for the TUC reveals that many mums are missing out on their usual forms of childcare. Among mums who are certain they’re unable to get enough childcare from September: 

  • Nearly half (45%) said they don’t have their usual help from friends and family
  • More than a third (35%) told the TUC they can’t get places at afterschool clubs
  • Nearly 1 in 3 (28%) have lost childcare provided by school breakfast clubs
  • The same proportion (28%) don’t have their usual nursery or childminder available.

The pressure of juggling work and childcare

The polling also shines a light on the huge pressures felt by working mums during the coronavirus outbreak:

  • The vast majority (90%) of working mums said they have taken on more childcare responsibilities since the pandemic began 
  • More than 2 in 5 (43%) said they have had to combine working at home and childcare – compared to less than 3 in 10 (29%) of their partners 
  • 3 in 10 (30%) mums told the TUC they regularly worked early in the morning (pre-8am) or late at night (post-8pm) to balance work and childcare 
  • 1 in 6 (16%) – mostly those in low-paid jobs – said that they have had no choice but to reduce their working hours. 

Impact on work

While some mums have had to take a financial hit by cutting back on work, others have felt the stress of trying to ‘do it all’ and now worry how they will be viewed by their managers: 

  • Nearly 1 in 5 (18%) said that they were worried that balancing work and childcare has affected how they will be assessed by their manager 
  • 1 in 6 (16%) told the TUC they were worried that it has impacted on their chances of a promotion in the future.  

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Women workers have borne the brunt of this crisis – both on the frontline and at home.

“Mums have picked up the majority of childcare while nurseries and schools have been closed. And many have sacrificed hours and pay to do so – especially those in low-paid jobs who can least afford the financial hit. 

“But this can’t go on. If we don’t take this childcare crisis seriously women will be pushed out of the workforce, turning the clock back on decades of labour market progress. 

“Childcare providers desperately need new government cash to stay open. And we need an extension to the job retention scheme for mums and dads who can’t return to work because of childcare responsibilities.”

PAYadvice.UK 3/9/2020

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