Careers and Carers: Childcare and maternal labour supply

Published on Tax and Welfare

Around two-thirds of mothers say the cost of childcare is an obstacle to them working more, reveals a new report from independent think tank the Resolution Foundation.

In a survey conducted by the Resolution Foundation and Mumsnet for the report, 67 per cent of mothers in work and 64 per cent of those not working say the high cost of childcare is a barrier to taking on more employment.

  • Well over a third (37 per cent) of stay-at-home mothers say they would like to work and would hope to do an average of 23 hours a week. And one in five (20 per cent) mothers who are already employed would like to take on more work – an extra 10 hours a week on average.
  • Among mothers who are already working, it is those on lower earnings who are more likely to want to take on more hours. The average earnings of those who would like to work more, approximately £13,000 a year – are less than half those who do not – approximately £29,000 on average.
  • The report also analyses OECD data to show that the UK lags behind some other western economies on rates of maternal employment with about 67 per cent of mothers in some form of paid work – compared to 86 per cent in the best performer, Slovenia, and behind Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Finland.