Media Parents

Research reveals childcare gap for shift workers

March 20, 2011 @ 8:28 am Posted in News Comments

Research reveals childcare gap for shift workers for great talent, networking, jobs and information.

A new report out today from childcare charity Daycare Trust has cast light on the difficulties faced by parents who work atypical hours – through either shift work, or working regular unsociable hours.

‘Open all hours? Flexible childcare in the 24/7 era’ assesses the demand for childcare outside of standard 8am-6pm opening times, and explores the reasons for these difficulties. It comprises a survey of 400 affected parents, including NHS employees, airport workers, television production crew including Media Parents TALENT Leo Carlyon, care home workers, and HGV drivers, in addition to parent and provider interviews and analysis of Childcare Sufficiency Assessments and the Labour Force Survey.

An experienced factual and docs editor, Leo Carlyon has chosen to be a stay at home dad for some time, and with his second child now starting school, he is now looking for editing work – preferably flexible.  He’s quoted in the Evening Standard  on this issue here:

Leo Carlyon, Editor at a Media Parents networking event with Rebecca Mulraine, Head of Production, Factual and Features at Tiger Aspect.

Key findings of the Daycare Trust survey:

  • 16% of parents work shifts, one in ten parents work over 40 hours per week and four in ten parents work hours which vary from week to week.
  • Lone parents and low income families are most likely to be found in jobs which demand that they work some atypical hours.
  • 67% of parents working atypical hours struggled to find childcare to meet their needs. This included 66% who struggled to access childcare after 6pm, 53% before 8am, 40% at weekends, and 32% overnight.
  • Over half of parents said that childcare needed to be more affordable to enable them to access it, and four in ten said that an inability to access childcare at short notice was a barrier.

Daycare Trust recommendations:

  • For parents to have the right to request flexible work from day one of employment, including the right to reject any atypical hours and request more regular hours.
  • For central government to provide more support and guidance to childcare providers and larger employers; increase promotion of the financial support for childcare; and to make the free early education entitlement available from 7am-7pm.
  • For local authorities to assess demand for childcare more closely; promote and support childminder networks; and offer ‘pump-priming’ grants to support local providers in establishing atypical childcare schemes.

Anand Shukla, acting Chief Executive of Daycare Trust said:

“Our report demonstrates the enormous barriers that parents who work outside typical ‘9-to-5’ hours face in accessing childcare – barriers that largely go ignored.

Daycare Trust is highlighting this hidden problem faced by so many shift workers ahead of this week’s budget. Many of these are parents in a weak labour market position, and it is crucial for our economic recovery that parents are practically supported to stay in work.

With four in ten parents working hours that vary from week to week, this issue affects large numbers of families. Local authorities and central government must act now to ensure that childcare providers are supported to deliver a service that fully meets the needs of parents.”

Daycare Trust is the national childcare charity, campaigning for quality affordable accessible childcare for all and raising the voices of children, parents and carers.  We advise parents and carers, providers, employers, trade unions and policymakers on childcare issues.  We recognise that everyone is unique and we value difference in our communities.  We listen to all views and are committed to act without prejudice. for great talent, networking, jobs and information.

Leo Carlyon, Editor in his own words:

20 years experience, mostly offline (Avid or FCP), but online too.

Doc Series & Single Docs – especially observational, also entertainment and some comedy. Able to work unattended or self-produce. Can work from home.

Availability very limited just now but will be better from September.

Leo Carlyon can be found in the TALENT section of

by Amy Walker


  1. It is possible to find good flexible childcare but it does take a while. I have always worked shifts and ad hoc days / hours and finally our fourth childminder is working a treat. We won’t go into what happened with the others!

    It’s tricky using council provided lists which are not up to date, but it’s worth it in the end. Councils should encourage people wanting to go into childminding to embrace shift workers.

    A reliable and flexible childminder is worth her weight in gold. I hope you find one as good as mine!

  2. Pauline on March 20th, 2011 at 9:19 am
  3. I definately think there’s a distinct lack of childcare for irregular or unsociable hours or even jobs that require working different days each week. I think its a very hard problem to resolve. i have never come accross any childminders near me who work out of the normal nursery hours of 8-6 and certainly any form of childcare where I could chop and change my days is unheard of as far as I’m concerned but I totally understand why that is and how unfeasable it is to try and staff that irregularity of demand.

    All that aside I think there is a severe lack of high quality affordable childcare be it childminder or nursery thats available. All the good ones are full very quickly.

  4. Kerry on March 20th, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>