February 2023

This report highlights that lack of affordable childcare and flexible working opportunities are key barriers for many single parents to entering or progressing in work. Some of Gingerbread’s key recommendations to address these barriers include:

  • The government must work with employers and employer bodies to emphasise the business case for greater flexibility in job roles and consider financially incentivising employers to divide full-time positions into job-shares
  • Employers should advertise vacancies flexibly from day one unless there are good business reasons not to do so.
  • The DWP and the BEIS should work with employer groups, single parents and groups that represent single parents to develop targeted recruitment programmes with industries with skills shortages.

Childcare system needs reform and investment to support working parents

  • DWP should introduce a national childcare non-repayable grant to meet the upfront costs of the first month of childcare fees (a similar scheme is already in place in Northern Ireland) to support low-income parents entering work.
  • The Department for Education (DfE) should review the childcare caps set in 2005, which do not deliver the promised childcare support of paying up to 85% under UC.
  • DWP should make childcare support available to all job-seeking single parents undertaking training or improving their skills, not just those with preschool-aged children
  • The government should urgently review and invest in the childcare sector to ensure that it meets single parents’ needs and is affordable, costing a household no more than 5% of their income.

Download report