The introduction of childcare vouchers at PricewaterhouseCoopers has had an impact on post-maternity leave retention rates, which soared from 40% in the mid-90s to 92% in 1998 when the scheme was launched, before falling to 89% in 2005.
Women returning to work after maternity leave are now offered 12 months’ worth of vouchers, equivalent to 20% of their base pay. Sarah Churchman, head of diversity, says: “We offer a broad range of options, including reserved places at local nurseries.
“We are also aware of the need for emotional support for those coming back to work, and have an active parents’ network where you can get in touch with others who have been through the same experience. There are also childcare advice sessions, which take place during the lunch break, to provide practical help and support and [help staff] feel valued.”
PwC employs 16,000 people across the UK, and has a workforce which is 47% female.