With the summer school holidays fast approaching, working parents are starting to focus on finalising childcare arrangements about how they make arrangements whilst their children are off school. advo HR we suggest ways employers can support their staff during this time including childcare options for employees to consider.
What can employers do to support working parents?
Prepare in advance
Talk with employees well in advance of upcoming school holidays, discuss their arrangements and identify any areas where annual leave may be required to avoid disappointment. Offer support and flexibility where possible.
Childcare voucher scheme
These schemes closed to new entrants from 4th October 2018, however provided the Company continues to offer the scheme and employees remain employed with the Company they can continue to benefit from an existing childcare voucher scheme.
Tax-free childcare scheme
This is not administered by employers but run by the government. Eligible employees receive a 20% contribution of their childcare costs up to a limit of £2,000 per child (or up to £4,000 for a disabled child). Whether the childcare voucher scheme or tax-free childcare scheme is better will depend on the employee’s personal circumstances.
Considering flexible working requests and granting them where possible. Direct business benefits to doing this include a potential better match between business resources and demand. Indirect business benefits include, reduced absence issues, improving wellbeing – better work-life balance and higher level of job satisfaction. Flexible working employees commonly show an increase in discretionary effort and commitment, compared to those who don’t work flexibly.
Allow employees the flexibility to take holiday entitlement during these periods.
Term time working
A contract arrangement whereby the employee only works during school terms so they are available for childcare during the holidays.
Setting up a workplace nursery
This is normally done by contracting the day to day management to a specialist provider. The nursery facilities should comply with Ofsted requirements. This involves extensive research and planning. Alternatively, you could consider reserving nursery and holiday play-scheme places for employees’ children.
Alternative options open to employees:
- Talk to the school, establish if any out of school activities are running that may be of interest.
- Often other parents at the school will be in the same position, consider liaising with them to cover childcare for a small group of children, reducing the need for as much annual leave.
- If employees are lucky enough to have friends and family who are happy to have the kids during the holidays, then this might be an option.
- Research holiday clubs in the local area. These tend to be available at sports/leisure centres and often include an array of fun activities for children.
- Childminders – some offer holiday only contracts.
Assisting employees with childcare can help reduce stress to employees and access to reliable childcare could help reduce unscheduled absence and increase their reliability.
Don’t forget to speak to advo HR if you need support on this or any other HR topic. In the first instance email Carly Gregory on firstname.lastname@example.org