Did you know that almost half of parents say the cost of childcare for children under school age is too high compared to what they earn? 36% are considering leaving the workforce.
Many women who want to return to work, me included, are faced with doing the calculations. Will they earn enough to cover the costs? And any left over? Is it worth it?
While work is not just about the money and many parents chose to work even just to cover costs of childcare – for sanity, career, sense of worth, work ethic, adult company - the reasons are numerous. 24% of working mothers say working isn’t economically viable - however they remain in the workforce due to independence and the necessity for career progression.
Many parents haven’t got the choice. With three kids under school age, I’m someone who can’t afford to go back to work – and yes this will change, families grow and circumstances change. But it isn’t only about cost. Access to childcare is a big issue too. In my area, there are no places available for toddlers in child care - believe me! I’ve checked! The waiting lists are 12 months to 18 months long.
Make Care Fair research says 74% of women found it difficult to find available quality care while they worked.
Make Care Fair are tackling the issue with a petition to Kate Ellis, minister for the status of women and Jenny Macklin, the minister for families. All you have to do is go to the website - where you can check out their research and sign the petition.For those of you with twitter and facebook - there are links there as well to help spread the word.
Here’s just a sample of the research:
For every AUD$1 the Government spent on childcare, the Government get back AUD$1.86 in revenue from improved workforce participation rate.
48% of women said the cost of childcare negatively hit their career but not their partner’s career.
Leaving the workforce for cost of care reasons has a compound negative effect. After leaving the workforce 52% of unemployed carers feel that their skills have been reduced whilst off work, and 49% have reduced confidence in their ability to return to work.
The relationship between the cost of care and employment choices affects employees on all incomes, i.e. from those on relatively high incomes (AUD$90K and upwards) to those on relatively low family incomes (AUD$50K and below).
51% say one parent would have to quit their job if the costs of childcare increase.
50% of parents would increase their hours of work if care was more affordable.