Employee benefits can help boost the number of working mums in Britain

Cost of childcareIn the current economic climate family budgets are becoming increasingly stretched, as a result research by Mintel into lifestyles of mums in the UK finds that, more than six in ten (61%) mums return to work because they simply cannot afford to stay at home after childbirth. And whilst financial needs topped the reasons why mums went back to work, less than one in ten (9%) said they were able to return to work because they had found affordable childcare.

This means that many employers are missing out on recruiting good quality staff simply because the lack of affordable childcare is keeping mums, and dads, with more than one child at home. Salaries frequently don’t cover childcare costs, which are rising more rapidly than the average wage.

Good employers are beginning to realise that if they want the opportunity to recruit the best talent they need to make sure their employee benefits scheme appeals to working parents and make the return to work financially easier.

Childcare vouchers

The most direct way you can help your employees who are working parents is through a childcare voucher scheme. Childcare vouchers are an increasingly vital employee benefit for encouraging mums and dads to join (or rejoin) your company.

Most childcare voucher schemes operate through salary sacrifice, which means that not only does your working parent receive childcare vouchers to use towards the cost of childcare but they can save up to 32% in reduced tax and NI contributions. In addition the employer benefits as well as they can save on their NI contributions by up to 13.8%.

Making the family budget go further

Employee benefit schemes can also help in other ways. By using schemes that offer everyday living and lifestyle benefits employers can help reduce the pressure on the family budget. It’s an alternative pay rise that helps meet the higher cost of living and childcare. As other costs reduce a greater percentage of the family budget can be allocated to childcare or your employee can choose to treat their family to a day out or other such luxuries.

Staff discount schemes

Employee benefits help mumsBy choosing a staff discount scheme as part of your employee benefits package you can help your employees make their money go further in a way that suits them. Staff discount schemes offer employee discounts, cashback and financial rewards on their everyday spending without having to change their shopping habits.

There are several affordable and accessible schemes, such as the MySpree Card, which offers a range of benefits for employees and employers alike.

For the employee, these schemes give them access to specially negotiated cashback offers at high street stores and online retailers. Whilst for the employer, these schemes are easy to manage and generally only have small administration charges. It also means that whether you’re a large company or a small business you and your employees can have access to a range of discounts and savings.

It’s about more than just the finances

The important thing to remember is that employee benefit schemes aimed at working parents can make a difference. Not just to your employees’ finances and the increased talent you could have working for you but also to the way they feel about working for your company.


John Sylvester

John is responsible for the motivation division of p&mm ltd and a Director on the board of the IPM. Specialising in developing, implementing and directing many large scale staff motivation, recognition and employee communications programmes.

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