Posted by: the3rdi | April 6, 2011

Childcare through tax credits decreases from today

Working Families 2010 helpline report uncovers discrimination, reduced flexibility and uncertain family finances

As support for childcare through tax credits decreases from today, Working Families expresses concern about poor families being worse off

Working Families free legal helpline provided advice to more than 3000 callers in 2010. The key issues concerning parents were: redundancy and discrimination; enforced changes of contract which reduce flexibility; and uncertain family finances.

Working Families Chief Executive, Sarah Jackson, said:
“Unsurprisingly, 12 per cent of our calls last year concerned redundancy issues. But 80 per cent of those calls were from pregnant women or those on maternity leave. We are disappointed to report that the laws protecting these vulnerable women are flouted more blatantly in this difficult economic climate.

“We advised many employees about how to deal with employers who insist that they change their hours or patterns of work. We understand that business needs change, but too often employers fail to realise that changes to parents’ work can throw childcare arrangements into disarray. Negotiating with employees is the way forward: imposed changes can force parents to choose between work and looking after their children.

“We also heard from parents struggling to make work worthwhile as childcare costs increased. We hope that the proposed Universal Credit will make life simpler for parents, but we remain concerned that many families will be financially worse off as the cuts to the childcare element of the Working Tax Credit take effect.

“This year’s report also focuses on some of the many successes of our helpline: our legal advisers provide invaluable support to parents, informing them of their rights and guiding them through negotiations with employers. In many cases our advice keeps parents in work”.

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