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One of the benefits that an employer in Early Years can offer its staff, that very few employers can offer, is free or subsidised childcare,

Whilst it can be very tempting to offer free or subsidised childcare for the staff. There are couple of issues to think about before introducing this:

1. Are you going to give the subsidy to all or some, can you justify why some get it and others don’t and would this be seen as discrimination?

2. Can you afford to do this? Can you afford it for one child or many children? Once the space is taken, its taken.

3. Will you limit the hours available for the childcare to when the parent is working? What happens if they work as per the rota? What impact will that have?

3. This will be a benefit and benefits continue during maternity leave. Can you factor the cost of this before you decide to introduce it? Just because they are on maternity leave doesn’t mean they won’t want their other child in Nursery wih out them, in fact it may be very useful to them and important for the consistency of education for their child.

5. Is this to be a contractual right that you can’t revise without consultation or is it non contractual and can be revised and withdrawn at any time. Think about this in advance.

6. What will childless employees think about the benefit, will this approach divide the workforce between the parents and the non parents?

7. What do you hope to achieve by introducing the benefit?

8. What will happen if more parents bring their own children to work? This can cause stress for the child, the carers looking after the child and the parent themselves. Some parents can work with their own children, some will not be able to and would actually prefer not to. Would having a parent bring their child to work mean that they are ‘dictating’ where they can be deployed? How do you feel about this? Whilst many observers worry whether the parent will be able to objective about having their own child in work with them, and that the parent will spend a disportionate amount of time working with their own child, we’ve also seen the opposite. In a move to make sure they are not seen to be biased towards their own child, I’ve seen parents who are harsh on their own, whilst supportive of others. The high standards they expect from their child can cause the child to be stressed, and colleagues stressed by what they are observing.

9. What are you going to do about the place when the parent is off sick? What about when they are on annual leave? Are you to place restrictions when you draw up the policy so it is fair for all.

10. What about when you close for the day for parents but not staff, i.e. staff training days, deep cleans etc. How will this work? Can you give notice to the parent so they can make alternative arrangements.

11. If you chose to subsidise and they don’t meet their invoices, how are you going to get the money you are owed. You can’t deduct from wages without authorisation, a clause in the contract to cover this would be a good idea.

12. Will the staff member with a child in work, need more regular supervision when the arrangements are new?Will the colleagues looking after the child, need more support? It can be stressful having your deputy’s child as your key worker.

13. If the staff member is office based, how will you put boundaries as to where the child can be? Will you allow them in the office? What impact will that have on the rest of the setting and the other children?

To discuss your ideas for a free or subsidised childcare policy please don’t hesitate to contact us on info@redwing-solutions.co.uk