11/06/2015 07:29 BST | Updated 11/06/2015 07:59 BST

Parents Will Increase Their Working Hours When 30 Hours Free Childcare Is Introduced, Study Reveals

Parents of pre-school children will increase their working hours when the Government introduces 30 hours of free childcare per week, a new study has revealed.

Conducted by the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), the study of 1,000 parents carried out on Netmums revealed four out of five families planned to make full use of the extended childcare hours if they had children aged three or four.

More than 50% of working parents said they would look for more work to be eligible for the free childcare, while 75% who weren't employed said they would look for work.

Anne-Marie O’Leary, editor-in-chief of Netmums, argued parents will be able to work more without the stress of childcare costs.

She said: "The proposed 30 free hours should help make childcare more affordable for parents of three and four year olds, improve the choices UK parents have and ensure work pays for many more mums and dads."

parents working

David Cameron announced in early June the Government will bring forward plans to double the amount of free childcare from September 2016.

Chief executive of NDNA, Purnima Tanuku, said: "This study shows the Government’s offer of more childcare hours is wanted and needed and already eagerly anticipated."

In the study, 71% of the families questioned already used day nurseries and more than 80% consisted of two working parents.

Although many parents said they would use their free time to work, some said they would like to study to help them progress in their careers.

Tanuku said there could also be knock-on effect that grandparents may look for work, having been "freed up" from childcare.


David Cameron To Announce Free Childcare Plans A Year Earlier Than Expected

More Free Hours' Childcare Will Be a Worse Deal for UK Parents, Not Better, Unless Nurseries' Funding Rises

Tanuku said it is now important that the Government works closely with the childcare sector to make sure this reform is practical for both parents and their children.

She added: "52% of parents are telling us they would rather have fewer hours all year round rather than term-time only.

"Most people’s jobs are not term-time only and such a move could help nurseries to create more places more efficiently."

When the extended childcare announcement was made, it was questioned whether nurseries would be able to handle the extra 15 hours of free childcare per child.

Neil Leitch, Chief Executive from the Pre-School Learning Alliance, which represents 14,000 private, voluntary and independent groups said: "I think we are at breaking point with just the 15 hours. Extend that to 30 and you will see a different position altogether."

Tanuku recognised that funding for nurseries was critical, as is ensuring the nursery sector has well-trained and professional staff to meet this extra capacity.

Has the announcement of 30 hours free childcare from September 2016 prompted you to think about working more hours or finding work?

Photo gallery Childcare boost for working parents See Gallery