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Wednesday 17 January 2018

Home help is priceless -- but now it's worth even less

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

STAY-at-home mothers and fathers who feel overworked and under-appreciated will not have their mood lightened by a new survey.

Research has found that the value of the work a woman or man does in the home has been reduced by €4,000 a year to reflect the fall in labour costs.

Put-upon parents who carry out a range of duties in the home are now valued at €55,000 a year, down from almost €60,000 last year, the study seen by the Irish Independent shows.

Multi-tasking mothers and homemaker dads carry out a range of jobs in the home.

This includes cooking, housekeeping, taxi-driving for children as well as being an event planner and gardener, a new study into the monetary contribution of stay-at-home parents shows.

Replacing the housekeeping work done by a typical mother alone would cost almost €7,400 a year, the study by Caledonian Life reveals.

This is based on 15 hours a week spent cleaning at a cost of around €9.50 an hour.

Stay-at-home mothers and homemaker dads perform a large range of tasks that include everything from being a tutor to acting as a psychologist to troubled teenagers.

Now, insurer Caledonian Life has tried to put a value on these jobs and concluded that replacing a homemaker costs an arm and a leg.

The national average spent on childcare alone works out at €14,600 a year.

Seven hours spent slaving over a cooker a week and other tough jobs have been totted up and valued by the actuaries and accountants.

They admit that the value to a family of a stay-at-home parents is priceless, but stress that a monetary value needs to be put on this work to ensure that it does not go unrecognised.

The insurance company carried out the study to encourage sales of life insurance among women.

Caledonian Life's Joe Charles defended cutting the monetary value of parents' home work.


He said the cut in the value could have been larger if the new lower minimum wage was used to calculate the value of cleaning and maintenance.

"Although notional, we think the figures from our study may help people realise the complex and difficult role of stay-at-home parents and the prudent benefits of having sufficient life cover.

"People may be surprised to see how much it would cost to employ an individual to carry out all the functions traditionally carried out by the homemaker," Mr Charles added.

He said that when Caledonian Life reviewed last year's figures and allowed for the general reduction in wages across the comparable roles it found that the overall figure had dropped to around €55,000.

"While this may be the financial computation, we believe that it still undervalues the true importance of this role," he said.

Irish Independent

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