Childcare and parental employment: the pandemic and beyond



The Equality and Social Justice Committee is undertaking an inquiry into childcare and parental employment: the pandemic and beyond. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought issues around gender equality, childcare and employment to the fore. This inquiry will seek to address these issues by focussing on the barriers that childcare provision can present for parents, particularly women, entering and progressing in the labour market.


Terms of reference


The terms of reference for the inquiry are to examine:


  • The extent to which current childcare provision in Wales sufficiently supports parents, particularly mothers, to enter, remain and progress in employment, and what changes might be needed to improve the effectiveness of childcare provision in doing this.
  • What impact the Childcare Offer in particular has had in achieving the Welsh Government’s objective of “helping parents, particularly mothers, to return to work or increase the hours they work”.
  • The impact of limited childcare availability on Wales’ productivity levels.
  • How childcare arrangements have affected parental employment during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in relation to mothers.  What lessons might be applied to provide better support during any future lockdowns or increased restrictions.
  • Whether Welsh Government-funded childcare provision is flexible enough to support employment of parents, particularly mothers, in different demographic groups and experiencing different circumstances.
  • The impact of high-quality formal childcare provision on reducing the attainment gap, and the potential benefits of extending childcare provision to tackle inequalities.
  • What Wales can learn from other models of childcare provision operating in the rest of the UK and internationally and emerging practice in terms of supporting parental employment, and the extent to which these models might be transferrable to the Welsh context.
  • How financial and practical implications such as availability of childcare would need to be considered by the Welsh Government in any future policy developments to extend childcare provision.


A person and a child using a computer

Description automatically generated with low confidence

Business type: Legislation

Status: For consideration

First published: 05/10/2021