Starting a family and how employers can support families

Starting a family

Employers support

There are a number of ways employers can support the childcare needs of their staff. The benefits of doing so may include recruitment and retention of staff, reduced absence and a more motivated workforce.

Some of the ways employers may achieve these benefits are:

Childcare information

Employers could consider incorporating a link to our Childcare finder on their company intranet to enable parents to search for local childcare. They could also signpost parents to our Childcare web pages for information and advice on how to choose and pay for childcare.

Flexible working options

Anyone can ask their employer for flexible work arrangements, but the law provides some employees with the statutory right to request a flexible working pattern. Employers have a legal duty to consider the request and can only reject it if there are good business reasons for doing so.

Working Families is an organisation that helps children, working parents and carers and their employers find a better balance between responsibilities at home and work. You can find further information and factsheets on their website.

Financial support

Working parents can check whether they may be eligible for help with childcare costs via the Childcare Choices website or by using the Childcare Calculator. These can give an estimate of how much they could get to help pay for registered childcare depending on their family circumstances.

They can also find details about support available to help with childcare costs on our Paying for childcare web page.

Maternity, paternity and adoption rights

The government website has helpful information about maternity, paternity and adoption rights in the workplace.

Workplace nurseries

Workplace nurseries (and/or playschemes run during school holidays) offer childcare for employees. If it is not suitable to set up such provision employers can also develop a contract with an existing local nursery. In this instance the employer needs to be wholly or partly responsible for financing and managing the provision.

Payments towards the workplace nursery on behalf of employees (possibly as part of a salary sacrifice) are exempt from tax and national insurance payments, making a saving for the employee and the employer. Employers can receive support to set up a nursery through Surrey's Early Years and Childcare Commissioning Team.

More general information for employers on the expenses and benefits of providing workplace childcare can be found on the website.

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