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Do Employers Have a Role to Play in Overcoming the UK Childcare Crisis?

The UK has been experiencing childcare crisis over the past year, with 35% of nursery managers limiting the number of places offered unless there is additional government support for staff retention and recruitment.

Moreover, concerns over limited nurseries and rising fees mean employees are left in limbo and could potentially pay a significant percentage of their salary towards childcare.

Today’s blog post will explore how employers can help employees amidst a lack of nurseries and rising fees to ensure their child gets the care they deserve.

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Childcare Crisis in the UK

Nurseries are facing talent retention difficulties as increased childcare hours will add up to the workload on staff and possibly cause them to leave, which severely exacerbates the issue of parents not being able to seek out suitable nurseries for their children.

Furthermore, childcare codes which employees apply for and give to childcare providers to receive free childcare hours, have added further complications. This is because nurseries may not be available everywhere.

Childcare search and affordability difficulties could prevent parents from fulfilling work hours effectively, but benefit provisions can help them balance their work duties while allowing them to enroll their child in the right nursery that matches their needs and budget.

The Government’s Childcare Support

Available for households where parents work for over 16 hours per week, the government’s new childcare support provision will apply 38 weeks of the year during the term period.

The childcare support will be introduced in stages, featuring 15 hours of free childcare available from April to parents with two-year-olds and from September for parents with kids aged nine months and older.

The support period will then be extended to 30 hours for parents with children under 5 years old in September 2025.

While useful, the Early Education and Childcare Coalition and the University of Leeds’ research also stated that the number of childcare places in England would have to grow by 6% to meet the demand resulting from the expansion.

The Workplace Nursery Scheme

The workplace nursery scheme involves establishing a link between one organization and a nursery and is operated through a salary sacrifice arrangement in which employees sacrifice a fraction of their salary in exchange for a benefit.

Through the salary sacrifice arrangement, employees can save money as a result of reduced tax and national insurance contributions (NIC). The nursery will then receive additional funds through offset NIC’s from the employer and parents will then decide how these are spent.

What Employers Can Do to Help Parents

In the event that parents are facing difficulties finding a suitable nursery to enroll their child in, there are a few things employers can do to help their employees overcome these hurdles.

Employers can offer childcare support as part of the overall employee benefits package or allow flexible working hours for employees. Below are some ways employers can help parents seeking childcare options in the UK.

Including Childcare Support in the Employee Benefits Package

Employers can offer childcare support, as part of the employee benefits package, in the form of ongoing childcare reimbursements, holiday clubs, or loans to cover nursery deposits.

Through benefits such as an employee assistance programme, employers can also offer access to helplines or websites that can provide employees with a list of emergency childcare providers in the area. Emergency childcare providers can include babysitters.

Flexible Working Hours for Employees

As mentioned before, difficulties seeking and affording nurseries could affect parents’ default, fixed working hours. However, employees can discuss with their employers the possibility of allowing flexible working hours and, possibly, the option of remote work as an alternative.

By allowing flexible working hours and possibly alternatives such as remote work, employers allow working parents to spend more time seeking affordable, appropriate nursery options for their children, spend more time with their children, or seek personal childcare options such as babysitters.

And if the employer already offers their employees access to emergency childcare providers such as babysitters through websites or helplines, employees can ensure proper childcare much easier.

Moreover, by offering flexible working hours and childcare support as part of the employee benefits package, employers can further contribute to a healthy work-life balance for employees by ensuring their voices are heard.

Click the link below for more information about how both employees and employers can contribute to a healthy work-life balance.


In conclusion, while parents are facing difficulties seeking the right childcare that ticks the boxes for their budget, employers can, in fact, always lend a helping hand.

Whether it’s offering at least helplines or websites for babysitters or offering flexible working hours to allow working parents to spend more time with their kids or seek appropriate childcare options, every little bit goes a long way in contributing a healthy work-life balance.

As a global health insurance broker and employee benefits specialist, Pacific Prime has 20 years of experience in not only matching both expats and locals to their health insurance plan of choice, but also offering advice for employee benefits to ensure employees’ voices are heard.

And if you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

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Content Writer at Pacific Prime UK
Wish Sutthatothon (Nickname: Guy) is currently a content writer at Pacific Prime Thailand, an insurance broker that connects individuals and businesses with insurance providers worldwide. He creates and edits blog articles, guides, reports, webpages, and other types of digital content.

He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts, Media & Communication major (concentration: Creative Content) from Mahidol University International College (MUIC). During the compulsory major elective period in the summer of 2021 and voluntarily during the summer of 2022, he also interned as a video and photo editor at Mbrella Films.

He has experience working as an English Content Writer at a real estate buying/renting/selling platform in Thonglor. There, he crafted company blog posts on a multitude of topics. Topics include market trends, legal issues and disputes in property businesses, financial guides, expat guides, home insurance, home decoration and maintenance, and weekly real estate news quick-recaps. Occasionally, as part of the blog-writing process, he would also translate existing Thai blogs to English.

In his free time, Guy enjoys doing scriptwriting and storytelling for comic strips, watching movies, and listening to music (particularly film scores).
Wish Sutthatothon