Almost half of childcare workers forced to rely on benefits, research shows

Almost half of workers in the childcare sector are paid so little they are forced to rely on state benefits, new research from the Education Policy Institute has shown.

18 Jan 2019| News

Photo by Aditya Romansa

The study, supported by the Nuffield Foundation, found that 44.5% of those working in the industry claim benefits or tax credits.

Pay for childcare workers is around 40% lower than the average female worker and has fallen almost 5% in real terms since 2013 despite working women overall seeing their wages increase by 2.5% in the same period.

”High quality early years provision can have a positive and lasting impact on children’s socioemotional and cognitive development. The evidence clearly indicates that a skilled and qualified workforce is a key driver of high quality provision,” the researchers said.

”Yet this report finds that the skills and sustainability of the workforce are going in the wrong direction. If the government is committed to improving the quality of early years provision, it must provide the well-informed incentives for motivated workers to not only enter, but also remain, in the sector with opportunities to upskill, better wages and improved financial security. This requires a long-term strategy that places the early years workforce at the heart of both early years and social mobility policy.”

The Institute of Employment Rights agrees that improved workers’ rights have a significant impact on the quality of provision of education and other public services and recommends that sectoral collective bargaining is rolled out across the economy to allow workers and employers to negotiate a fair pay and conditions.

Read more about our recommendations in the Manifesto for Labour Law