TUC: Older Workers Need Childcare Too

The Needs OF SMEs Should Not Be Forgotten


David Shirt, Press Officer | 0161 838 3094

Two-in-five women over the age of 50 have school-age children, according to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), but their needs are not being met.

This, in addition to the fact that 59.4 per cent of people in this age group have caring responsibilities for elderly parents or grandchildren, is putting pressure on their home lives.

In response to this issue, the TUC is calling for employers to do more in terms of mitigating potential stress and anxiety that may be accrued through this joint role.

Childcare vouchers were introduced by the government to cut tax rates for working mums and dads, but many employers have not implemented the salary sacrifice system, despite the existence of a thriving third party employee benefits sector.

The survey released by TUC also showed that a parent with two children in an after-school club for 15 hours a week will have to pay an annual bill of £4,000 during term time and with rising energy and food costs this is not sustainable.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "While most schoolchildren look forward to the holidays and a break from school, the three half-term and the annual Christmas, Easter and summer holidays can be a worrying time for working parents.

"With wages undergoing the sharpest squeeze in a hundred years, the cost of holiday clubs - particularly for families with more than one child - can be beyond the means of many working parents."

These comments were backed by Working Families chief executive Sarah Jackson, who welcomed the TUC's findings that 40 per cent of older workers have children at school age.

This, Ms Jackson argues, shows the need for a revolution in the private sector to dispel the myth that only 18 to 35-year-old women give birth to children.
The charity boss also called for more flexibility in terms of working hours and school holidays, as this is an important issue for millions of families across the country.

Expert Opinion
Bosses at smaller companies have over the years worked hard to accommodate the needs of all those workers with children of school age and I think many are aware that the average age of parents with young children has increased.

“Many SMEs have implemented so-called family friendly policies and know how important they are to ensure they maintain a productive workforce. It is important that the needs of SMEs are not forgotten in this debate and if there any changes made, it is vital that SME company bosses are fully consulted.”
Fergal Dowling, Partner