Last reviewed 15 September 2020

As children around England begin to return to school, an ICM survey for the TUC has revealed that many mothers are missing out on their usual forms of childcare with 45% saying that they do not have their usual help from friends and family.

A third (35%) told the TUC that they could not get places at afterschool clubs while more than a quarter (28%) have lost childcare provided by school breakfast clubs.

Overall, 41% of working mothers with children under 10 said that they either cannot get — or are unsure whether they will be able to get — enough childcare to cover the hours they need for work this September.

Furthermore, some are beginning to worry how their attempts at balancing work and childcare will be viewed by their managers with 16% saying that they are worried that recent events have impacted on their chances of a promotion in the future.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Mums have picked up the majority of childcare while nurseries and schools have been closed. And many have sacrificed hours and pay to do so — especially those in low-paid jobs who can least afford the financial hit. But this can’t go on. If we don’t take this childcare crisis seriously, women will be pushed out of the workforce, turning the clock back on decades of labour market progress.”

The TUC is calling on the Government to protect women’s jobs during the Covid-19 crisis.

It said that the option of furlough should remain in place to support parents who are unable to return to work because of childcare responsibilities, beyond October and until schools and childcare settings are fully reopened.

An urgent cash boost similar to the financial help given to the industry in Germany is needed so that childcare providers can continue to offer the levels of care they were providing before the pandemic, the TUC has argued.

Comment by Peninsula Associate Director of Advisory Kate Palmer

The Government has been adamant, including in the Prime Minister’s recent speech on 9 September, that they will not be extending the furlough scheme beyond 31 October.

It will likely be down to employers to find ways of being more accommodating towards staff who are experiencing childcare issues.

By doing this, these staff members may become easier to retain and morale could increase among the workforce too.