Saturday 23 September 2017

The work of a busy stay-at-home parent is worth at least €40k

Parents don’t realise the value of the work they do at home
Parents don’t realise the value of the work they do at home
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

The work of parents in the home is never done, and tends to be massively undervalued, a study of home duties has found.

The cost of getting someone in to do the work of a stay-at-home mother or father is around €40,000 a year, an insurance company has calculated.

Multi-tasking parents do not realise just how expensive it would be to get someone into the home to do their work, insurer Royal London said.

This includes day-to-day activities in the home such as minding children, cleaning, helping with school homework, gardening and taxiing children.

Royal London, which was previously called Caledonian Life, said official figures show around 340,000 people work in the home in Ireland.

This is based on Central Statistics Office figures, but is way down from as far back as 1986 when 653,000 people described themselves as working in the home.

Some 322,000 of those who currently say they are working in the home are women, with 18,000 men. Around 230,000 of the home workers have children.

Joe Charles of Royal London said the number of stay-at-home dads is probably underestimated due to a reluctance by men to admit they are full-time home makers.

Cooking duties alone would probably cost around €150 a week.

And the child-minding duties have been estimated to cost €225 a week, based on a rate of €9 a hour with 25 hours a week involved.

Another €150 a week is given for the cost of driving children around, with €95 a week the estimated cost of tutoring children as part of their school homework.

Royal London said that evidence from financial brokers suggests that some families are still overlooking the need for financial protection to replace the work of a stay-at-home mam or dad.

Mr Charles said: "It's not something any of us like to dwell on - our own mortality and how our loved ones would cope financially if the unthinkable were to happen. But it is important that we do, difficult as this may be."

He said that stay-at-home parents undervalue the work they do. "Our calculations reveal the cost to employ someone to do all the household jobs normally done by a stay-at-home parent could be €40,000 or more.

"Our experience would suggest that both stay-at-home moms and dads tend to undervalue themselves or worse still, actually place no monetary value on their role."

He said this meant that parents do not plan or think about how their family would cope financially if anything were to happen to them, such as a serious illness or sudden death.

Royal London says when women have life cover in place, more often than not, it's for less than half the amount of their male counterparts.

Mr Charles advised: "Understanding what level of financial protection your family needs can sometimes be a difficult task - but it's an important one."

He said families need to work out how they would cope with serious illness or the sudden death of one of the parents.

Irish Independent

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