Thursday 29 September 2016

Parents want State help to fund massive childcare costs

Published 20/07/2015 | 02:30

Eight out of 10 parents want financial support to help them fund the huge cost of having children minded when they are at work
Eight out of 10 parents want financial support to help them fund the huge cost of having children minded when they are at work

Working parents want the Government to provide financial support to help defray massive childcare costs.

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Couples with young children who both work feel the State is not spending enough to help them support the cost of childcare.

A recent report from the international think tank the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), found that Ireland and America have the highest childcare costs in the western world.

Now a survey has found that eight out of 10 parents want financial support to help them fund the huge cost of having children minded when they are at work.

Although they would welcome extended paid leave in the first year after a child is born, most have a preference for direct financial support, the survey of parents conducted by childcare provider Giraffe found.

The survey was conducted on foot of revelations in this newspaper last week that the Government is looking at introducing six months of paid parental leave for working parents.

This newspaper also reported that the Coalition is considering a range of other measures to help squeezed, middle-income working families.

The survey of 400 parents found that parents are in favour of direct financial support through tax rebates or by direct payments.

Costs

Some 21pc of parents opted for a second pre-school year of education and 18pc of parents chose additional parental leave.

Parents have described the cost of childcare as being like a second mortgage. Parents need to earn up to €30,000 a year just to fund the cost.

A recent survey by the Irish Independent showed it costs up to €1,150 a month for a crèche place for a baby. And for both a baby and toddler the cost can rise as high as €2,035. However, to meet that monthly expense for two children a parent would need to earn €30,000 a year - which after tax would leave virtually nothing once the childcare costs were paid.

The Giraffe survey found that a third of parents who have one child would be forced into a situation where one parent gives up work if they had to fund childcare for two or more children. Others said they would decide to reduce the working hours of one parent.

Director of childcare at Giraffe Dearbhala Cox-Giffin said: "It is interesting to note that the parental preference is for direct, ongoing financial support towards childcare costs through a tax rebate or direct payments.

"Conversely, only 4pc of the crèche parents surveyed chose increasing child benefit as their top priority."

Ms Cox-Giffin said the survey also showed parents clearly preferred the option of an extra pre-school year rather than State-paid parental leave.

Irish Independent

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