Have you planned your summer childcare?

Have you planned your summer childcare?

With the end of the school term approaching quickly, many working parents are now facing the challenge of juggling work and childcare over the summer months. Many parents will rely on formal childcare – such as day nurseries, childminders or summer schemes – over the summer months to cover the time that children would normally spend in school. This need for additional childcare can put a significant strain on household finances, at a time when the high rate of inflation means outgoings and the cost of living are already rising across all areas of family life.

Don’t let cost prevent you from exploring an option

There is help available with the cost of registered childcare, which can include some summer schemes, as well as year round providers such as registered childminders, out of school clubs and day nurseries. For example, parents may use Universal Credit, Tax-Free Childcare, Childcare Vouchers or Tax Credits to help meet their bills. Even if you are currently in receipt of one of these forms of support this is a good time to speak to an advisor and check that this will remain the best form of support over the coming months.

Finding suitable childcare

Finding suitable childcare can be daunting. A key resource is www.familysupportni.gov.uk which provides a search function for all registered childcare providers across Northern Ireland.

Local councils and the Education Authority may also provide additional information over the coming months regarding the summer schemes that they are running for school age children.

Alternative working arrangements

Some employers may offer working from home arrangements for staff, either working completely at home or a hybrid arrangement with some time at home and the rest in the workplace. These arrangements can help parents, particularly those with older children, to balance work and childcare over the summer. Other parents may need to request additional time off, paid or unpaid, or request to change their working pattern, such as through a flexible working request.

Flexible working arrangements can take various forms for example part-time working, compressed hours (working your agreed hours over fewer days), job sharing, working from home for part or all of your hours, or term-time only working. Discuss these options with your employer to try and find an arrangement that suits you both.

Further information

To find out more about what financial support you are entitled to, contact our Family Benefits Advice Service for free, impartial and confidential advice on Freephone 0800 028 3008 or email hello@employersforchildcare.org.