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Shift workers lack help with child care

ONLY 1 IN 50 shift workers receives help with child care costs from his or her employer, according to a report published today, writes Graham Moorby.

Most have to rely on family to look after their children despite spending more on child care than other working parents, the report by the Daycare Trust, a child care charity, says.

Helen Evans, spokesperson for the trust which surveyed 442 parents, said some shift workers were forced to give up their jobs because of the lack of help. 'Shift workers are suffering and it is up to the Government to take the lead in child care policy. A lot of top managers are men and they need a leap of the imagination to understand what help shift workers require.' She called on the Government to bring together politicians, unions, parents and voluntary groups to discuss the problems.

The report showed 7 in 10 shift workers relied on family ahead of other arrangements. Half have at least two child care arrangements in addition to help provided by a partner or relative - and a handful admit to using at least eight types of care.

The survey also found that mothers who work shifts are nearly twice as likely to pay for child care as other working mothers.

Seven in 10 parents working a changing shift pattern find that child care is a problem - as do 4 in 10 of those working uniform shifts.