Business

Greater challenges facing mums wanting to each a wage

The negative impacts of the last six months mean mums face greater challenges than ever before when trying to raise children and earn a wage

EVERY parent knows that sometimes part of loving our children is wanting to strangle the little... darlings.

Well, the cost of caring for our children is also a heavy burden, and like so many burdens, it has become heavier still due to lockdown and the virus crisis.

The negative impacts of the last six months mean that mums face greater challenges than ever before, when trying to raise children and earn a wage.

And of course this impacts on their ability to keep saving for retirement.

The Money Advice Service tells us that across the UK, the average cost of sending a toddler to nursery part time is £131 per week for 25 hours, or for full time it’s £252 per week for 50 hours. On top of that, the average cost of an after-school club for five days is £70 per week.

There are additional problems with childcare that are preventing mums getting to work, for reasons that are by now familiar and clear.

A survey by the TUC revealed that two in five (41 per cent) of mothers of young children are now unable, or having great difficulty, in finding enough childcare cover for the hours they need.

A quarter of mums don’t have their usual childminder available, and due to social distancing requirements, facilities such as breakfast clubs and after school clubs, or even support from grandparents or relatives, has dried up as well.

The knock-on effect of this is that mums are being forced to leave the workforce in droves, in much higher numbers than men. In fact, a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies showed that during lockdown, mums have been 47 per cent more likely than dads to have lost or given up their jobs.

Of those mums who did not choose to stop work, but were made redundant, 46 per cent laid the blame on the lack of available childcare.

We have mentioned repeatedly in the past about the normal disadvantages faced by women, and the difficulty many face in having an unbroken career once they start a family.

So many choose to take time out of work – years, in some cases – and the detrimental financial impact of this, commonly known as ‘the motherhood penalty’, decimates their efforts to build up their pension savings.

This not only reduces their income in the short term, it can also damage their job prospects if they do attempt to re-enter the workforce.

A large number of mums going back to work return only to part-time employment, and the period of reduced or zero saving into their pensions spins out for years longer than simply their time at home.

Women in part-time and lower income jobs have been particularly vulnerable to the financial ravages of the virus crisis, due to the nature of their work.

Research by The Resolution Foundation indicated that the jobs they tend to have are not suited to being performed from home, in fact only one in ten workers on lower incomes, of whom the large majority are women, have been able to work remotely. The sectors worst affected are already a familiar list - hospitality, retail and leisure.

Let’s not forget the bigger picture here: our focus is on the long-term prospects of women being able to enjoy a reasonable lifestyle, and a timely retirement. No-one wants to see a generation in despair, trapped in the workplace for far longer than they intended because they simply could not afford to retire.

So if you are taking care of the children today, why not take a break, put your feet up with a nice cup of tea – and think of making a call, to seek quality professional advice on your pension saving!

Michael Kennedy and Shaun Doherty are independent financial advisers and pensions specialists, and can be contacted on 028 71886005. Further information on Facebook at Kennedy Independent Financial Advice Ltd or at www.mkennedyfinancial.com

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