Childcare can be difficult for new parents to organise and with so many other things going on in their newly-hectic life, many don’t know what they are entitled to receive in terms of free childcare hours and vouchers. If you are a working parent, finding someone to take care of your child while you go to work is vital but being able to afford to pay for someone can often eat up everything you will earn and it leaves many parents wondering if they would be financially better off staying at home.
Seek Professional Advice
Some employers will provide parents with vouchers to supplement the cost of childcare. If your employer won’t provide these vouchers and the cost of childcare means your wage drops below the minimum threshold, then you will need to contact the Pay and Work Rights Helpline to get some professional advice about what you are entitled to.
Use a Childcare Calculator
As Working Mums explains, many parents are struggling with high childcare costs. The statistics show that 18% of parents are now cutting back on their working hours or giving up their jobs to take care of their children, purely due to the financial strain they are under. You can search the internet to find a childcare calculator that can be used to calculate which option is best for you, dependant on your salary, your working hours and what you are entitled to receive as a working parent.
Explore your Alternatives
It is important to consider all of your options to find the best childcare for your child, for you and for your finances.
Nannies: A private nanny can be a good alternative but they are often expensive. Although, the advantage of using a nanny is that they can work really well if you need more flexibility with your work schedule. It is important to check out their experience and references.
Au-Pair: An au-pair is more affordable but they will need to stay in your home and this means you will need to adjust to having an extra person living in your house and there may be potential language barriers. However, you will have someone on-hand in your home if you have a work emergency that you need to go to.
Child Minder: A child minder will often take on more than one child at a time, so your child will have other children to play with. They are usually a cheap option and can be a good way to give your child a settled routine, however you will need to find a replacement if they get taken ill or go on holiday.
In the UK, three to four-year-olds are entitled to free childcare, as well as some two-year-olds, which adds up to 570 hours per year per child, which equates to 15 hours a week over a period of 38 weeks a year. Knowing what you are entitled to receive will help you to find the best childcare option for your individual circumstances.