Uber is offering drivers free childcare in bid to encourage more parents to join workforce

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The minicab app platform said childcare costs are a “barrier” for women joining the company

Uber is offering its drivers free childcare as part of a new trial to encourage more parents of young children to join its workforce.

The company will offer 10 hours of free childcare for 1,000 of its UK drivers as part of the scheme.

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Uber said its drivers on average earn £34 an hour in London and £30 across the rest of the country. Opportunities for the highest earnings are usually at weekends and evenings, but childcare commitments prevent some parents from working at those times.

Uber UK general manager Andrew Brem said: “Over the last year I’ve spoken to many ambitious and hardworking drivers who told me that support with childcare would help them to earn more. The cost of childcare is often a barrier for women in joining Uber, which is why we have launched an innovative new pilot for drivers.”

Uber’s free childcare will be provided through on-demand app Bubble. The company said it will discuss the impact of the programme with recipients before deciding whether to expand it to more drivers.

An Uber sticker on the side of a car in Cardiff, Wales. (Image by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images) An Uber sticker on the side of a car in Cardiff, Wales. (Image by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
An Uber sticker on the side of a car in Cardiff, Wales. (Image by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

Tania Naseer, who has been driving with Uber for four years, said: “As a single mother with children aged 10, six and five, I used to spend money on childcare to allow me to drive when earnings were the highest, like late night airport trips.

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“But childcare is harder to access for me now, so I will be making the most of this new Uber pilot which will also help me as I study for a degree in biomedical sciences.”

The trial comes after a report by charity Coram published last week stated that Britain is one of the most expensive places in the world for childcare.

The average price of a part-time childcare place (25 hours) a week for a child aged under two in a nursery is £148.63 across Britain – and is even higher in England at £150.89.

The charity said that the high costs are “freezing parents out of work” and gaps in availability are “leaving disadvantaged children at risk of missing out”.

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A YouGov survey of 2,008 UK parents of primary school-aged children or younger also found the cost of childcare affected 56% of parents who responded, with almost half saying they had turned down work because of childcare responsibilities.

Becca Lyon, head of child poverty at Save the Children UK, called the survey findings a “wake-up call – England’s childcare system is not working for parents, children, or providers”.

She added: “The Chancellor needs to take urgent action on childcare at next week’s Budget. A simple but effective change would be to adjust the way those on Universal Credit pay for childcare costs.

“They are currently paid upfront, with families on low incomes waiting up to a month to get support back. This system makes it impossible for many to move in to work, or traps those who do in debt.”

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