Survey shows strong support for Childcare Vouchers
New research has underlined the high value placed on Childcare Vouchers by both employers and employees.
A recent survey conducted on behalf of Edenred and other key industry stakeholders shows that the vast majority (over 90 per cent) of parents are concerned about the cost of childcare. This is hardly surprising, given the prohibitive costs of formal childcare and predictions that it is set to escalate significantly over the next four years.
A recent report from the Social Market Foundation (‘The Parent Trap’) suggests childcare costs will rise by an average of 13.5 per cent by 2015/16. With the average cost of childcare already standing at £91.81 per week, it’s a price hike that will quite simply be unachievable for many working families.
Childcare Vouchers essential in meeting childcare costs
Working parents taking part in the Edenred-supported research were asked about the role Childcare Vouchers had to play in helping them meet costs.
Overall, nearly five per cent of respondents said they would be forced to leave work by the crippling cost of childcare if it wasn’t for the support offered by tax-free Childcare Vouchers.
When the sample group was segmented by salary level, the percentage of those who would be forced to quit their jobs rose to 11.6 per cent of parents earning under £20K per year and 15 per cent of those earning under £15K per year. The survey results also showed that if the tax exemption was removed, more than eight per cent of parents would have to abandon high-quality registered care in favour of cheaper alternatives. A large proportion of working parents – over 70 per cent – said they would be happy to sacrifice more salary for tax-exempt Childcare Vouchers if the limit was increased. (The amount of tax and NI exemption parents can currently get on employer-supported Childcare Vouchers has remained frozen for basic rate taxpayers since 2006/7, despite the fact that costs have risen well above the rate of inflation.)
Employers taking part in the research also stressed the important role Childcare Vouchers played in helping them to build a talented workforce.
More than 80 per cent of employers said the scheme had a beneficial impact on the business. Just over a quarter felt it helped them to recruit and retain key staff, while 12 per cent felt there would be a significant change in the make-up of the workforce if the benefit was removed.
Recent changes to the scheme had not had as much of an impact as some employers had feared, with only 15 per cent saying the new arrangements had made Childcare Vouchers more difficult to administer.
“The survey results show that Childcare Vouchers are a valuable benefit that is greatly appreciated by staff and also has significant pay-offs for employers,” said Laura Czapiewski, Edenred’s Product Manager, Childcare Vouchers. “Companies who communicate widely with staff about the availability of Childcare Vouchers and who are pro-active in encouraging take-up will definitely reap the benefits, both in terms of increased employee engagement and their ability to attract the best and brightest people.”
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