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New Labour Relations Agency Employers’ Guide to Childcare


In a climate of labour shortages, poor staff retention and spiralling costs of living, one of the main barriers to employment identified by many parents is the lack of access to affordable childcare. In 2021, the NI Childcare Survey reported 54% of families facing challenges in accessing childcare, with a full-time childcare place costing on average £170 per week, leading many people to decide that work was not a viable option.

The Labour Relations Agency has this week launched its Employers’ Guide to Childcare, which was produced by working in partnership with Employers for Children and the Department for the Economy NI.

It is full of practical guidance to ensure employers and employees know exactly what financial support is available to assist working parents with their registered childcare costs and how it can be accessed, including:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Childcare Vouchers
  • Chid Benefit
  • Tax-Free Childcare
  • Universal Credit

This will greatly assist businesses who may be unaware of the government support which their employees can access to subsidise childcare costs, making childcare more affordable. It can also help businesses recruit and retain the staff they need. Employees value employers who acknowledge the challenges that balancing work and childcare responsibilities can bring; and  who can offer appropriate support and guidance.

With the help of the new guide, employers stand to benefit from:

  • direct savings on employers National Insurance Contributions if offering Childcare Vouchers; and Tax and National Insurance savings if offering a workplace nursery;
  • lower levels of staff turnover and absenteeism, which will result in increased levels of productivity and reduced training and recruitment costs; and
  • positive public image which will attract new applicants.

The new guide is available to download from the Labour Relations Agency website (Toolkit section).  You need to register for access, but it is very easy to do.