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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S6W-04445
Asked by: Pam Duncan-Glancy, Glasgow, Scottish Labour
Date lodged: 12 November 2021

Question

To ask the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body what assessment it has made of the need for appropriate childcare provision for staff working at the Parliament.

Current status: Answered by Claire Baker on 25 November 2021


Answer

The Parliament takes an inclusive approach to providing its staff with appropriate childcare support.  Staff are supported by a range of policies to enable them to manage their work, family and home life circumstances. This has been particularly helpful during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UK Government operates a tax free childcare scheme which offers up to £2000 per year for each child to assist with childcare costs.  As an employer there are limitations on the benefits that can be offered following changes to UK legislation in 2018 which prohibited employers from operating a childcare voucher scheme other than for parents who were already members of the scheme prior to its closure.  Prior to the closing of all employer funded childcare schemes the SPCB operated a voucher scheme for Members, their staff and SPCB staff.   The scheme was introduced to promote fairness and inclusion for all individuals in place of a childcare facility which would primarily benefit employees across the central belt of Scotland and within easy access of the childcare facility. 

The employer childcare voucher scheme which remains in operation for employees who were members of the scheme prior to its closure in 2018 has experienced a reduction in use during the Covid-19 pandemic where staff had the ability to work in a more flexible manner and from a flexible location, reducing the requirement for paid childcare provisions. 

The SPCB discussed childcare at its last meeting and have asked officials to engage with Members and Staff on what support would be most useful to better balance home and work life.  This will include a review of how the creche space can be best used to support staff and Members with childcare.  Unfortunately, the space we have is not suitable for a nursery as we lack secure outdoor space which children can access unsupervised.  Therefore, onsite childcare will be limited to short duration stays.