43% of Mothers Leaving the Workforce

With inflation rates rising, the cost of living increasing and wages stagnant, more and more mothers are being forced to give up their jobs and not return to work after having a baby. The reasons for this are two-fold: firstly, the spiralling cost of full-time childcare, which has risen from an average of £236 a week in 2018 to £274 in 2022; and secondly, the lack of affordable, flexible childcare options available to working parents.

 

This is having a detrimental effect not just on individual families but on society as a whole. Women make up half of the workforce in Britain, and when forced out of work, it has a knock-on effect on businesses, the economy and productivity. It also exacerbates the gender pay gap, as women are more likely to be in lower-paid jobs and therefore have less disposable income to cover childcare costs.

 

According to research from the London School of Economics, the cost of a full-time nursery place for a child under two has increased from an average of £236 a week in 2018 to £274 in 2022. This means that for many women with two or more young children, childcare costs often outstrip their salary.

 

This is having a detrimental effect not just on individual families but on society as a whole. Women make up half of the workforce in Britain, and when forced out of work, it has a knock-on effect on businesses, the economy and productivity. It also exacerbates the gender pay gap, as women are more likely to be in lower-paid jobs and therefore have less disposable income to cover childcare costs.

Mother

In addition, due to their inactivity in the workforce, many women are not entitled to certain benefits and tax credits that could help ease the financial burden of childcare costs. The government needs to do more to support working mothers by increasing the amount of financial assistance available and making it easier for women to access it.

 

What’s worse is that with the inflation rates rising and the cost of living increasing, the salaries for many jobs are not keeping up. So, even if a woman does want to return to work after having a baby, they may not be able to due to the lack of affordable childcare options.

However, to alleviate the financial tension, the government’s response has been to suggest trying to make childcare cheaper by loosening the rules around the number of children that nursery staff can care for. But this proposition has been described by experts as a “disaster for the sector”.

 

Research has shown that less regulation leads to poor-quality provision without fees. And experts have warned that ratio relaxations would only exacerbate the current crisis of recruitment and retention of early-year staff. There is no loophole or easy way out here. The government will baulk at the cost of increasing financial assistance to parents, but doing nothing is not an option. Childcare costs are forcing women in Britain out of work, and something needs to be done about it.

 

Something needs to be done to address the issue of childcare costs forcing women out of work. The government must invest in affordable, flexible childcare options and make them available to all working parents. This would positively impact not just families but also businesses, the economy and productivity. It would also help to close the gender pay gap.

Follow IPGCE to keep updated on economic, political, and news on education.