Mothers working full-time in the South West and West Midlands need to work for 18 weeks and 15 weeks a year, respectively, before they break cover childcare costs, according to research by Family Investments.
This found that UK mothers work up to four months of the year just to pay towards care for their children. In the South West, the average cost of childcare is £7,228 per year, so a mother working full-time earning an average of £10.72 per hour will need to work for 674 hours to cover this cost. In the West Midlands, the average cost is £6,086, meaning a full-time working mother, on the average hourly wage of £10.97, will need to work 554 hours.
The research took into account Office for National Statistics’ data on full-time pay for females.
Kate Moore, head of savings and investments at Family Investments, said: “These figures highlight the very significant costs mums face if they choose to return to work after maternity leave and the fact that they will spend up to four months of the year simply working towards these costs.”
Iain McMath, managing director at Sodexo Motivation Solutions, added: “The fact that working parents need to devote more than a third of their salary to pay for childcare is unacceptable. Soaring childcare costs are preventing mothers from going back to work and killing their career hopes.
“However, the government can help to resolve this issue. Firstly, by making childcare vouchers available to all parents, removing the current exclusion of those that are self-employed. Secondly, to raise the cap on childcare vouchers to a level that will make a real difference to parents who are currently spending four months of their salary each year on childcare.”