Nearly a fifth of parents say they have been forced to give up their jobs due to the cost of childcare, according to new research.

The survey, conducted by campaign group Pregnant Then Screwed, found that the cost of childcare creates financial anxiety in 84% of families.

The study, which surveyed over 1800 parents, comes after the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) found that the UK has one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world.

The survey also revealed that:

  • 62% of parents have reduced their working hours due to childcare costs

  • 17% have had to leave their job due to a lack of childcare provision

  • 22% have had to leave their job due to a lack of flexible childcare.

The campaign group is calling for subsidised childcare to fill the gap from when paid maternity leave finishes to when children become eligible for funded childcare places at age three.

Joeli Brearley, founder of Pregnant Then Screwed, said:

“Our latest piece of research highlights exactly why women fall behind in the workplace, and that is because of the punitive costs of childcare. If we are to change the landscape for women, and parents, we need to provide properly subsidised childcare from nine months old.”

“The Government have introduced 30 hours ‘free’ childcare from three years old, and tax-free childcare for employees; this is not enough and impacts not only the parents but childcare providers as they are unable to cover the cost of delivery. Women only get one year of maternity leave with only nine months paid, so there are two years that they either stay at home with the children because of the high cost of childcare or return to work with a huge bill hanging over them - with many reducing their hours in order to strike a balance.”

“Childcare is infrastructure. Our childcare system is failing parents, it is failing childcare providers and it is failing childcare staff. We need the Government to create a childcare system that works so that nurseries can stay open and provide good quality care and so that we can close the gender pay gap and start to tackle the motherhood penalty.”

Last reviewed 11 November 2019