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Wales TUC welcomes Childcare announcement but voices concern over future

Wales TUC has welcomed the return of the Welsh Government Childcare Offer following an interruption for the Coronavirus Childcare Assistance Scheme but warns that serious challenges remain for workers in Wales.

The Deputy Minister for Health and Social Care, Julie Morgan confirmed earlier this week that the Childcare Offer for Wales will reopen for new applications from mid-August.  This will be a welcome relief to working parents of 3 and 4 year olds.

However, Wales TUC has raised concerns for the future of the workplace as the latest official statistics show that 58% of business in Wales have seen a decrease in turnover due to coronavirus.  This is likely to be compounded by the UK Government’s furlough scheme ending in October, which will add to the strain for businesses.

Wales TUC is working with affiliate unions to establish an early warning system which will allow us to engage with workplaces where there is a threat of redundancy as early as possible. We will be working with employers to make sure that redundancies, job losses should be equality impact assessed to make sure that they are fairly applied across workers and not impacting unfairly on disabled workers, those with caring responsibilities or those who have had to shield.  Wales TUC are urging employers to carry out Equality Impact Assessments before taking action on redundancies.

Shavanah Taj, Wales TUC General Secretary recently said:

“I’m pleased that there is now certainty for working parents to allow them to go back to work and know that they have the financial support they were expecting for their children.

“Childcare is a major barrier for working parents and guardians and it’s essential that it’s in place to allow workers to be able to do their jobs. The ONS has reported that parents appear to have been fitting their work around their childcare obligations during the Covid crisis, often working long beyond their usual working hours just to fit in caring. This can’t become a pattern. Work is only productive when we also have rest and relaxation alongside it.

“What we need to work towards now is a fairer workplace.  This includes giving all staff the right to work as flexibly as possible from their first day in the job and ensuring our parental leave is fit for purpose.

“With many businesses struggling we’re concerned about the workers that will be facing redundancies.  We’re working on schemes to help workers who are at risk of redundancies but we want to make sure that they are applied fairly and equally too”.

 

Original article link: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/wales-tuc-welcomes-childcare-announcement-voices-concern-over-future

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