Spread the news: families are priority

Tony Blair’s speech at the Labour Party Conference (News, 5 October) outlined “universal, affordable and flexible childcare for the parents of all three- to 14-year-olds”. While it is pleasing to see the issue of childcare so high on the political agenda, I feel employers often lack the knowledge of what options are available to allow them to take the message on board, and assist employees with their childcare responsibilities.

The good news is that from next April, childcare vouchers become both tax- and NI-exempt. For the first time employers have a chance to implement a family-friendly policy that will make a financial difference to all employees who pay to have their children looked after while they work. For instance, the savings an employee can make will be significant, with some eligible to save £1,066 a year.

However, it is the role not only of Government but of all stakeholders to get this good news across. With childcare issues very much in the public focus, both employers and employees have a real opportunity to establish a positive and permanent culture change in the workplace. Let us hope that those charged with seeing the transformation through do not miss this valuable opportunity.

Nancy Weeden
Childcare service manager, Sodexho Pass UK

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