Received from: Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers
Congress recognises that high quality, accessible, affordable early years childcare is an investment in essential social infrastructure with long-term benefits for the economy and society.
High-quality childcare helps tackle child poverty, support children’s development, removes barriers to employment and creates more well-paid jobs in the sector. Lack of childcare is a barrier to women’s labour market participation and progression and contributes to the gender pay gap.
Save the Children estimate that over half of mothers with children under the age of 11 have had to cut their working hours due to childcare costs and 40 per cent say they or their partner would work more hours if childcare was more available.
Children from low-income families, single parents, LGBT+ families, parents with disabled children and Black families face additional barriers in accessing and affording formal childcare because of the discrimination they face.
Over half of all families rely on grandparents for childcare and Congress recognises the critical role grandparents play in enabling parents to work.
Government must deliver a fully funded, comprehensive childcare system which is easily understood by and supports working parents including:
i. significant increases to maternity and paternity leave and pay
ii. 30 hours of funded childcare per week from the end of parental leave
iii. free breakfast club and after-school provision in every primary school
iv. funded school holiday provisions
v. funding for the free hours hourly rate that reflects the true cost of childcare provision
vi. a legal right to flexible working from day one of the job
vii. restoration of Sure Start.
Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers