Focus on Cost of Living:

Cost-Savings through strategic support for Parents & Carers

Concerns about the cost of living, and measures to address this are global, with Governments including those in the UK, Europe, and the US putting packages in place to provide a buffer against these costs while attempting to avoid fueling inflation.

Here, our Head of Thought Leadership, Jennifer Liston-Smith has worked with Victoria Cottee, Head of Client Relations and Nicola Broomhead, Head of Client Services to take a timely look at the role that Bright Horizons’ partner employers are playing in enabling working families to make their income go further, while also achieving a commercial and cultural fit for the employer.

Workplace Nursery onsite or Nursery Partnership: (underwriting places in local nursery)

Positive Cost-saving Difference for Employees

Tax savings through the Workplace Nursery Exemption: full tax and National Insurance Contribution (NIC) exemption for both employer and employee for on-site and near-site provision.

Employees save on average 32% of childcare cost, depending on salary and tax bands. This puts around £5,500 back into employees’ family finances (Typical client example 2022).

Positive Cost-saving Difference for Employers

A Nursery Partnership can be cost-neutral for employers, given savings in employer NICs.

86% say access to workplace nurseries or nursery partnerships improves their productivity (Work+Family Snapshot).

60% would stay with their employer in return for everyday child care (US Modern Family Index).

Several clients have recently increased their number of places to meet rising demand (Bright Horizons Client Relations team feedback 2022).

Further Positive Impact

75% of those who use employer-sponsored Workplace Nurseries or Nursery Partnerships are more likely to recommend their employer as a result (Work+Family Snapshot).

89% agree it makes it easier to return from parental leave (Work+Family Snapshot).

87% agree it enhances wellbeing and reduces stress (Work+Family Snapshot).

Employer-sponsored day-to-day care addresses the well-known ‘Child Care Trilemma’ (the challenge of finding care that is high quality, affordable and available).

Back-Up Care

Positive Cost-saving Difference for Employees

In the absence of back-up care, 57% would use up annual leave on a care break down, bringing potential wellbeing costs. The alternative is to try to find care at very short notice which is costly as well as stressful.

Positive Cost-saving Difference for Employers

87% said they would have missed work if Back-Up care had not been available (Bright Horizons user feedback surveys 2022 YTD).

Assuming a full-time salary of £32K, this saved in excess of £11,076,000 for our clients in 2021. Many Back-Up Care users are of course on significantly higher salaries.

61% would consider changing employer without it (Bright Horizons user feedback surveys 2022 YTD).

Further Positive Impact

Bright Horizons delivered over 90K days of care in UK& Ireland in 2021, with a post-care Customer Satisfaction score (CSAT) of 92% (Bright Horizons user feedback surveys 2022 YTD) making an impact across thousands of families, through over 420 employers.

Virtual Tutoring as part of Back-Up Care

Positive Cost-saving Difference for Employees

Subsidising access to tutoring makes it affordable, reducing financial pressures and stress.

73% agreed that without access to virtual tutoring through Back-Up Care, they would have used private tutoring with an impact on family finances (Bright Horizons user feedback surveys 2022 YTD).

Positive Cost-saving Difference for Employers

Employees using virtual tutoring report positive engagement.

Without virtual tutoring through Back-Up Care, 55% would have ‘dedicated hours to tutoring my child directly’ and 32% would have experienced more stress at work (Bright Horizons user feedback surveys 2022 YTD).

Further Positive Impact

Well over half of working parents have concerns over their children’s educational catch-up and mental health (Modern Families Index).

A month following the booking, overall Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) is 92%.

96% agreed Bright Horizons made it easy to book virtual tutoring (Bright Horizons user feedback surveys 2022 YTD).

Parent Transition Coaching and Parental Leave Toolkit

Positive Cost-saving Difference for Employees

Among individual users of Coaching or Parental Leave Toolkit, nearly 9 in 10 found it boosted confidence, showed support for wellbeing, and helped to keep their career on track (Bright Horizons Parental Leave Toolkit & Coaching Impact Survey 2021).

Comparing Before and After scores, parents who received Bright Horizons Leadership and Parent Transition Coaching showed an uplift of +47% in ‘Being equipped for the influential conversations you need to have with various stakeholders’; +55% higher in ‘Having confidence in how you approach this area’ and +46% increase in ‘Practical know-how and skills relevant to this area’ (Bright Horizons Service user feedback 2021)

Positive Cost-saving Difference for Employers

Our clients typically see a 12 to 14 percentage point uplift in the number of leave takers returning to their business. In an organisation of 1,000 people, this could well over £150K in recruitment costs per annum.

Line managers gave 100% positive approval ratings for their coaching. 77% of managers Agreed or Strongly Agreed when asked: ‘The Parental leave Toolkit resource has been put in place to help you plan effectively with team members going through family life transitions, returning to work and integrating family life with ongoing career progression. To what extent do you feel that the Toolkit, as you have experienced and engaged with it so far, supports these aims?’

Among individual users of Coaching or Parental Leave Toolkit, 94% felt it encouraged a positive view of their employer. 88% Agreed that: ‘Having a Parental Leave Programme helps working parents focus on keeping their careers on track.’ (All stats: Bright Horizons Parental Leave Toolkit & Coaching Impact Survey 2021).

Further Positive Impact

One of the drivers for employers in putting a parental leave programme in place is the knowledge that careers can derail at this critical moment, and gender pay gaps widen, unless the process is managed intentionally.


When the average recruitment and replacement cost is in the tens of thousands, and in a candidates’ market, services that align with employees’ priorities become a business priority: to reduce turnover costs and retain vital experience and knowledge.

What more can employers do?

Hybrid working can play a role here – where the nature of the work and organizational culture allows – through enabling employees to make cost savings by cutting down the commute.

Employers can also pass on the message that tax-free childcare is being under-claimed by families, although take-up is rising. Employees could be encouraged to check they are not missing out on up to £2,000 of support a year.

It is also helpful to know that in addition to Government support with energy bills, there is some help for employees, from 6th July, in the UK with the threshold at which National Insurance becomes payable rising to £12,570. This matches the point at which income tax begins. Following the pressure of the NIC rate rise in April, workers paid up to around £40,000 should find their NI position better than it was, even before the April rise. Further ahead, UK income tax is set to fall from 20% to 19% from April 2024.

Further advice on aspects such as financial wellbeing packages can be found through HR systems providers such as CIPHR and through the CIPD.