Mums should be given more options to combine childcare and work so they can keep the economy moving, according to a new EU report.
The European Commission wants Germany, Austria and Holland to adopt more family-friendly options for mums, following the lead of countries like Sweden and Norway that have generous childcare policies.
Holland has six million women of working age, yet less than 10% are employed full-time. In neighbouring Germany, just under 40% of the 27 million women of working age have either a full- or part-time job, compared with 80% of men.
In the UK, around two-thirds of working-age women with dependent children have a job. But 44% of working parents rely on grandparents to help with childcare, according to research by Workingmums.co.uk.
In contrast, 90% of Swedish mums with schoolchildren are employed and the country allows either mum or dad to reduce their workload by 25% until their child starts school.
Germany has embarked on a back-to-work scheme dubbed ‘Operation Mama’. It aims to tempt 500,000 mums back to the workplace by boosting childcare facilities and spending hundreds of millions of euros on subsidies.