Childcare plan proves turn off to care staff

Care home provider Lifestyle Care has encountered problems with its pilot childcare voucher plan due to lack of staff interest.

The company piloted the scheme on 150 workers for one year, but only one employee took up the offer.

Finance director Makbul Jaffer said: "It’s like the stakeholder pension; nobody seems to be interested. Aside from managers, the other employees are not interested in that sort of thing."

The low response came despite a thorough marketing campaign. Jaffer said that leaflets were distributed to staff along with letters in payslips, posters in staff rooms and voucher provider Busy Bees held meetings with employees.

He added that he was disappointed by the take-up because a large portion of Lifestyle Care employees have children. "Our carers are mostly under 30 – around the 25-year-old mark. I need to sit down and put my thinking cap on to see what the problem is.

"It’s not just the company saving National Insurance (NI) contributions or whatever, it’s a benefit for [staff] because they would save on the tax and NI contributions."

The firm plans to relaunch the scheme later this year and roll it out to all 2,200 employees in its 23 care homes across the UK.

Jaffer also added that he is currently reviewing the benefits package in a bid to curb staff turnover. "It is very difficult retaining staff in the care sector. We were okay with the managers and now it’s them we are having a problem with, so we have to do something for them."