Many factors influence a mother’s decision to return to work following maternity leave. The desire to balance their new life as a parent with their working life will often be a key consideration, so employers that are willing, and able, to offer flexible working patterns may find this stands them in good stead to welcome back valued staff.
Research by recruitment firm Robert Half this week found that 83% of female employees who return following maternity leave move into part-time or flexible working arrangements.
But, there is no getting away from the fact that the cost of childcare is often a key influence on a mother’s decision to return to work. No matter how strong their desire to return, some will inevitably conclude that the cost of childcare versus the salary they earn means it is not financially viable to return to the workplace.
Earlier this year, the government announced plans to launch a new tax-free childcare scheme, which will be phased in from September 2015. This will replace the existing employer-supported childcare voucher scheme.
This week, it launched a consultation setting out new details of the scheme.
Is this the answer to the childcare cost conundrum that employers and employees have been waiting for?