6th Annual Child Care Survey Results
Parents disgruntled over public holiday charges and the increasing cost of child care
There may have been several changes to benefit you working in the last year, but results of our Child Care and Workforce Participation Survey reveal you think there is still a long way to go to make working after kids financially and emotionally viable.
With the survey in its 6th year now it's interesting to benchmark previous results and see that the elephant in the room is "still" cost of child care and making all forms of child care tax deductible. The survey results clearly reflect the pressures faced by families and that increasingly the cost of living is a significant issue.
There needs to be a shift in the way we think about working families and how they are supported and indeed how the child care industry is valued as a profession.
- A Quarter Of Working Mums Say They Are Losing Money
- Increasing Cost of Child Care
- Quality of Child Care
- Profit or Not For Profit? That Is The Question…
- The Public Holiday Debate – You Are Unimpressed With Paying Fees for Public Holidays
- Child Care Benefit and Rebate – Still Confusing
- All Legitimate Child Care Should Be Tax Deductible
- Is The New Statutory Paid Parental Leave Adequate?
- Employers Could Do Better
- Both Working and Non Working Mums Feel Negative Stigma – and largely from other mothers!
1. A Quarter Of Working Mums Say They Are Losing Money
While the majority of mums returning to work did so out of financial necessity, many are working due to independence and necessity for career progression, despite the financial impracticality – 24% say working simply isn't viable, but they have no choice if they are to remain in the workforce.
2. Increasing Cost of Child Care
The cost of child care is still increasing with 25% of you paying between $200 and $300 per week in child care (before benefit/rebate) and 40% are paying over $300 (compared to 32% last year).
Over 50% say they would like to make child care cheaper.
3. Quality of Child Care
While 69% say your child care facilities are excellent with great carers and facilities, 28% say they are "ok or average" and only 2% thought child care services poor. The vast majority of you know your children love their child care service, with examples such as children talking about the teachers all the time (30%); being always happy to go to child care (54%); having lots of stories about their day and always sleep, eat and play really well in care (66%). Any gripes are to do with opening hours, cost and services available.
68% think that child care workers are underpaid and undervalued. That is they are certainly underpaid but not undervalued by you, only by employees/government. You believe that child care workers who are qualified and do more than just babysit their wards should be rewarded the same as other teaching professions.
You also believe that staff turnover and shift workers are detrimental to your children's care and routine and agree with the new child to staff ratios. However with better pay and more qualified staff, the standard of child care would be much better and carers much happier and more likely to stay within their child care centre/profession, limiting the need for unqualified part time staff.
4. Profit or Not For Profit? That Is The Question…
26% believe child care facilities should be not for profit; 60% don't mind profit or not for profit as long as the quality is good.
5. The Public Holiday Debate – You Are Unimpressed With Paying Fees for Public Holidays 76 per cent of parents believe they should not have to pay child care fees for days when services are closed on public holidays, claiming that this cost should be absorbed by a child care service by slightly increasing daily fees to cover the costs of paying staff on public holidays.
6. Child Care Benefit and Rebate – Still Confusing
Under half of working mums say they are eligible for child care benefit; 41% believe they are not eligible and 12% don't know if they are or not.
You are beginning to get the Child Care Benefit vs Rebate difference but 26% still didn't know they could be eligible for child care rebate even if they are not eligible for CCB.
For those who are claiming rebate, 82% said the 50% rebate level has made a significant impact on the affordability of working.
7. All Legitimate Child Care Should Be Tax Deductible
As child care is a necessary evil for parents who need to work (i.e. pretty much everyone), then 94% say all legitimate child care should be tax deductible.
80% also believe you should be able to claim the same benefit/rebate for registered nannies as for child care centres.
8. Is The New Statutory Paid Parental Leave Adequate?
Since the last survey Paid Parental Leave has been implemented, but 24% don't think it is adequate (51% think it is).
For 40% of those who had recently been on maternity leave however, it has to be better than what they got paid – i.e., nothing.
10% of the working mums didn't take any maternity leave the last time they were pregnant; 28% took under 6 months; 45% took six months to a year and 17% took over a year.
9. Employers Could Do Better
While Australia needs women to remain in the workforce, there is still a long way to go in terms of employers helping women in the transition back to work. Recently we revealed 30% of mums who had returned to the workforce heard nothing from their employer throughout the duration of their maternity leave and over 60% had received little or no communication or assistance over returning to work.
The Annual Child Care Survey revealed 70 % employers are still not providing any help with child care process or other aspects of returning to work.
Of the 25% who do, mostly is in the form of flexible hours (62%), option to work from home on an occasional regular basis (41%) and child care search help (27%).
This is simply not justifiable since most women don't expect financial help or special treatment, rather a bit of moral support and practical help in terms of staying in touch and assisting with flexible working arrangements where practical.
This is exactly why we started our Stay in Touch program for employers to at the very least make women on maternity leave feel like they are still valued as employees.
Employers don't mean to leave them out in the cold they simply just don't really consider some of the very simple, practical measures that can be put in place and can mean the world of difference to a working mum.
Despite the lack of maternity leave help and post leave flexibility, 55% of mums said they didn't feel like much had changed in terms of how valued they felt having returned to work, but 25% said they feel less valued.
10. Both Working and Non Working Mums Feel Negative Stigma – and largely from other mothers!
It's not just the employers who need to step up to appreciating working mums, 58% of working mums say they have felt stigmatized for not taking parenting seriously enough.
32% said they felt this from other mothers, 32% from colleagues and 21% from friends and family…
But mums can't win either way, as 40% of non-working mums say they feel stigmatized for choosing to stay at home – 20% by other mothers, 15% by friends and family and 10% by former colleagues.
About this survey
There were 1,712 respondents to our 6th Annual Child Care & Workforce Participation Survey examining the health of Australia's child care system. Survey responses were collected over the course of March 2011. The survey is held in the first quarter of every year and encourages parents to provide insight into their specific child care arrangements and have their say about our child care system and whether it is working for them.
View results from other years: 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006