2 articles Tag child care

The Great Childcare Debate

childcareSomething which is on a lot of people’s minds at the moment is the issue of childcare, after the Government introduced free funding for 2 year olds from underprivileged families to receive 15 hours of nursery a week. The idea was to get parents back into work without having the expense of nursery hanging over them, but it’s a scheme which has been a bit of a sticking point for a lot of families. Until the age of three, working parents are expected to pay the full price for childcare and the prevailing attitude is that it seems unfair that familes who don’t appear to need free childcare are more entitled to it.

Let’s look at the brass tacks of it:

At the moment, Husband and I both work from home, which works for us and means we don’t need childcare. Now, let’s assume that I wanted to go back to work, full time, as a copywriter which is what I currently do from home. Let’s completely ignore Husband’s salary and assume that this is still going on things like rent and our bills, as it does at the moment.

The average salary for a copywriter is £23,047 per year before tax and National Insurance, so my take-home pay would be approximately £18,840, or £1570 per month. I’d probably have to travel to London to find this kind of work so I’d have to factor in £355.60 per month in season ticket fares. The nursery attached to Sausage’s school charges £4.50 per hour, plus £1.75 for a hot lunch, which would make my monthly nursery fees (assuming I’d need to drop her off at 7.30 am to get the train and not collect her again until 6.30pm) £1110.42. Of course, this also doesn’t factor in needing before and after school care for Sausage.

In travel fees and nursery fees alone, my monthly expenses JUST FOR GOING TO WORK would be £1466.02, leaving me approximately £103 which, as far as I’m concerned would make it absolutely POINTLESS going back to work.

I know that there are flexi options, sometimes family can help with childcare, or companies which allow a homeworking element during the week, but these figures are the exact reason that so many people are up in arms about the government’s scheme. Being a copywriter isn’t the loftiest career in the whole world but it sure as hell pays more than retail work or other minimum wage jobs, which means that even people with hopes of getting a mid-level job will struggle.

Obviously, this is all part of a MUCH bigger problem. The cost of living is too damn high in the UK, whilst wages are depressingly low. Family-friendly working is more-or-less non-existent and women are usually expected to bear the burden of this. I know that there’s a prevailing attitude that women SHOULD be the ones to bear the burden because they’re the ones who CHOOSE to have the babies (obviously the men have zero say in this and we’re all just sperm-harvesting lunatics…*sarcasm*) but this is a hugely outdated notion and many men also feel penalised because of their inability to contribute towards the childcare duties.

I don’t begrudge families who are on a low income the opportunity to have free childcare, I really don’t, but I also don’t think it’s a solution. It’s a really romantic notion, hoping to help people back into work, but let me ask you this: 1. how are they supposed to afford that childcare once the funding runs out and they’re on a low wage and 2. WHERE ARE ALL OF THESE JOBS THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO BE FILLING?!

I think we can all agree that the Government has well and truly got its head up its arse on this issue and that more help needs to be given to ALL parents who want to go back to work, not least of all because we’ve probably got a massive pool if untapped talent in this country, desperate to get back into the workplace but unable to afford it. It’s all very well for the hate-mongers in the right wing press to be content with demonising benefit claimants but the Government has basically created this viscous loop of never being able to AFFORD to come off of benefits, for so many people, who are essentially tied to living in permanent poverty.

I’d really love to hear your thoughts on this. Are you a Mum who’d love to go back to work but simply cannot afford to? Would you have a career if the childcare was cheaper or more affordable? Are you in receipt of two-year-old funding but still unable to find a job? Please leave me a comment below.

Going Back to Work

Although I’ve made a good living from freelance work in the past few years, it’s always in the back of my head that I might need to go back to work one day. In the past, pre-kids, I always worked in finance, usually doing payroll and credit control and I worked fairly locally, but eight years on there’s fewer and fewer jobs available in that area in our local area. This means that working in London is a real possibility for me and that I’ll need to find childcare for Burrito Baby.

Obviously putting her in a nursery close to home is an option, but I also know people who work in London who actually take their kids with them and put them into nurseries near their place of work so that they can be on hand quickly in an emergency, which I actually think is a really good idea.

LEYF Nurseries have recently put together a video showing how they work with families and within the community to make the childcare experience as positive and fulfilling as possible for each and every child:

London living literally could not be more different than our current lifestyle, out here in the country, but I do love the idea of the diversity of a city, as well as the access to so many different resources. Museums, parks and historical buildings are few and far between where we are, but in the city there seems to be something to see and learn about on every single corner.

I loved this quote that I came across on the LEYF site:

“What do I look for as soon as I step into an early years setting? Fun and a real sense of excited purpose by the staff and children. That’s exactly the package you get in every LEYF nursery. I have never seen an organisation that so positively promotes the wellbeing of staff, children and their parents in such a meaningful and vibrant way.” – Sue Chambers, Early Years Expert

Choosing a nursery in London can be a hugely daunting prospect because of the enormous amount of choice available but by choosing an LEYF nursery you can be guaranteed to find a high quality daycare centre for your child where their health, happiness, wellbeing and education will be the highest priority. Do take a look at the video above and then head over to the LEYF Nurseries website for more information.