Employers For Childcare responds to UN Committee recommendations

The UN Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has published its concluding observations on the United Kingdom and devolved administrations. The Committee recommends that there should be affordable and accessible childcare in Northern Ireland.

A team of Northern Ireland representatives went to Geneva in February to brief the CEDAW Committee on equality issues affecting women. Employers For Childcare provided a brief for the team, setting out an overview of the current childcare infrastructure in Northern Ireland. The brief also outlined evidence collated from our Childcare Cost Surveys (2010-present), highlighting the cost of childcare and the impact this has on local families.

The CEDAW Committee welcomes the measures taken to expand childcare entitlement for working parents in England, Wales and Scotland. However, they are concerned that childcare costs remain ‘excessive’, particularly in Northern Ireland, and that this constitutes an obstacle for women in particular to enter and progress in the workplace.

The Committee recommends that the UK Government:

  • Ensure the availability of affordable and accessible childcare facilities and/or arrangements, in particular Northern Ireland.

Employers For Childcare welcomes the Committee’s acknowledgement that policy developments in other parts of the UK continue to make progress, while this is more limited in Northern Ireland. Currently, Northern Ireland is the only UK jurisdiction without a childcare strategy, a situation which we believe is unacceptable, and which lets down children and their families.

The Committee also commented on the importance of women having access to flexible working policies and shared parental leave. Our work to support parents includes encouraging employers to offer family friendly working practices and we are hosting a FREE Family Friendly Employer Workshop in April 2019. You can find more details of the workshop here.

For further information on all our research please visit our Research page.