Professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers introduced a pilot emergency childcare scheme for staff in five of its offices in May 2006. The pilot, which is running for an initial 12-month period, provides staff in London, Birmingham and the East Midlands, Manchester and Edinburgh with access to five free days of emergency childcare over the course of the year.
The scheme was launched after the company carried out a survey of employees’ issues in 2004. Carolyn Wilkinson, senior employee benefits manager, says: "One of their problems was the childcare issues where their [normal] arrangements had let them down."
The emergency childcare places are offered through a national childcare provider. "We have paid in advance for a fixed number of days [and] if we do not use all of those days, we can carry those over to the next year," explains Wilkinson.