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:
Employers can direct their employees to the Surrey Family Information Service (FIS), who will able to provide them with listings of local registered childcare. They could also consider incorporating a link to Childcare finder on their company intranet so parents can search for local 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.
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 the FIS Paying for childcare web page.
Maternity, paternity and adoption rights
The government website Gov.uk has helpful information about maternity, paternity and adoption rights in the workplace.
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 Gov.uk website.