Almost a fifth of parents forced into quitting their jobs due to ‘punitive’ childcare costs, study finds

Some 62 per cent said they have been pushed into working fewer hours due to the cost of childcare.

Researchers say it is predominantly women who bear the burden of childcare charges and this exacerbates the gender pay gap and “motherhood penalty”.

Aceil Haddad, a spokesperson for Pregnant Then Screwed, said: “The cost of childcare punishes women and the cost is crippling. There is no point going to work if it is going to cost you because of childcare. I speak to hundreds of women who cannot progress their careers because childcare is so expensive. They can’t find flexible work so are forced into low-paid, part-time work so that they have time to do childcare."

“This is the reason behind the gender pay gap. In most circumstances, if you are not working full-time, you have less access to pay promotions, career progression and even training in some cases. In most cases, you are seen as a liability and less committed if you work part-time. We are limiting the potential of women and I find that scary. We hear stories of women who are doctors and teachers who are struggling.”