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Monday, 21 May, 2001, 00:27 GMT 01:27 UK
Employers 'not childcare friendly'
nursery
31% viewed their employer as "not family friendly"
The majority of working parents say their employers still do not help them with childcare provision, a survey suggests.

Only 11% said their employer helped with childcare, while 31% viewed their employer as "not family friendly", a Mori poll of 587 parents of children aged 0 to 14 years showed.


If the government isn't going to take responsibility, the employers should - they're the ones who need the manpower

Rosemary Baldry, single mother
Fathers were more likely than mothers to describe their employer as not family friendly (39% compared to 19%), as were full-time working parents compared to part-time workers (36% to 15%).

Of those questioned, 43% wanted more affordable provision, 38% wanted more places available and 38% wanted more employer support with childcare.

Most said the government should contribute more to the cost of childcare (60%), 41% said employers should pay and 16% said parents should bear the financial burden.

National Childcare Week

However, the poll - commissioned by the Daycare Trust and the union, Unison, for National Childcare Week - indicated the proportion of parents who felt their employer was family friendly had risen by 10% over the past two years to 64%.


There is an enormous unmet demand for high quality, affordable childcare, not just for early years but for dependent children of all ages

Dave Prentis, Unison
Director of the Daycare Trust, Stephen Burke, said the results bore out the view that family friendly employment policies would become more important over the next five years.

"But still too few employers provide real help with childcare, despite the gains for both employer and employee. More incentives need to be provided to encourage employers to do more," he said.

General secretary of Unison, Dave Prentis, said employers' contribution to childcare was "woefully inadequate".

"There is an enormous unmet demand for high quality, affordable childcare, not just for early years but for dependent children of all ages," he said.

Lone parents

Single mother, Rosemary Baldry, 37, who has two boys aged three and five, said lone parents were especially disadvantaged.

Ms Baldry, who is not currently in work, was recently offered a journalist job on a salary of 17,000, but was forced to turn it down.

"I thought that was quite good, but when I worked out the cost of childcare bills, I was coming out with less than I was getting on income support.

"But if employers had facilities for children, I would most definitely be able to go to work.

"I don't like being on income support doing nothing - I've worked all my life, I'm a professional person, I want to work and contribute, I don't want to be a leech," she said.

21st Century problem

In 2001 childcare was a definite problem, she said.

"Fifty years ago not many women were working, but it's not like that now, so childcare is an issue in a changing society.

"If you want the manpower, you should be obliged to provide support. If the government isn't going to take responsibility, the employers should - they're the ones who need the manpower.

"It can't be that expensive to amuse a three-year-old!" she added.

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See also:

05 Feb 01 | Education
Cost of childcare at 'record high'
29 Jan 01 | UK Politics
'Pay parents for childcare' plan
28 Dec 00 | Education
Childcare information in shops
09 Dec 00 | UK Politics
Brown offers 'prosperity for all'
13 Nov 00 | Education
Childcare staff 'lack training'
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