RESULTS OF THE 2008 CAREFORKIDS.COM.AU® ANNUAL CHILD CARE & WORKFORCE PARTICIPATION SURVEY SHOWS PARENTS’ CONFUSION OVER CHILD CARE BENEFIT AND DISMAY OVER INCREASING FEES
Results of the survey show that parents are increasingly worried about the cost of child care, but also more confused than last year over eligibility for the Child Care Benefit and employers still have much to do to encourage women back to work after maternity leave.
Online child care search engine and publisher of the country’s only Child Care Guides, CareforKids.com.au® polled just over 1500 parents on all aspects of child care and returning to work, from their opinions on finding child care; the cost of child care; their knowledge of child care benefit to their motivations for returning to work and help received from employers and their thoughts on the new government’s proposed child care policies and paid maternity leave.
Roxanne Elliott, founder of CareforKids.com.au® said that the survey results show that parents are still very unhappy with the escalating cost of child care and despite child care vacancies, parents often still can’t find the right type or days they need.
“A quick look on our child care search pages shows that a good proportion of inner city child care facilities have current vacancies, said Elliott, but parents are finding the fees hard to swallow and employers may be stopping parents from taking up these places due to inflexibility on working hours/days.”
“What concerns us too, she continued, is that many parents clearly don’t understand the child care benefit and rebate system and are missing out on valuable help that might make working more viable. More employers need to come up with more practical assistance in helping facilitate mums returning to work.”
The survey was the third CareforKids.com.au® Annual Child Care & Workforce Participation Survey examining the health of Australia’s child care system. Held in the first quarter of every year, the survey 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. The 2007 survey was completed by over 1623 parents. Click here to view 2007 results.
Below detailed results are for parents who currently have children in child care.
Types of child care used: 75 per cent use child care centre; 14 per cent use grandparent or relative; 11 per cent family day care; 7 per cent use nanny or au pair (who are still not deemed “approved child care” so parents cannot claim Child Care Benefit / Tax Rebate on them.
Cost is king of child care gripes with 42 per cent of parents paying over $200 per week and 30 per cent believing the cost of child care outweighs their net income.
Confusion over child care benefit and tax rebate with 30 per cent of parents unsure if they’re eligible for child care benefit (an increase of 2 per cent from last year) and 43 per cent unsure about claiming tax rebate
- Majority of parents (66 per cent) are paying between $40 and $80 per day in child care per child. 15 per cent are paying over $80 pc/pd. 36 per cent paying between $100 and $200 pc/pw, 22 per cent paying $200-300 pc/pw and 20 per cent paying over $300 – an increase on last year (17 per cent).
- 60 per cent of parents would like to change the cost of their child care; 28 per cent would like to change the hours (to make them more viable for a working day).
- 30 per cent said the cost of child care meant that having children in child care outweighed their net income, making it financially unviable to work. So if they’re working, it’s for the benefit of their careers and/or their sanity!
Money still main motivation for return to work - 77 per cent said they went back to work out of financial necessity, followed by career progression and independence.
- 31 per cent of parents think that the current child care benefit and tax rebates have significant impact on their child care costs, whereas 51 per cent don’t. 17 per cent don’t know.
- 96 per cent believe all child care should be tax deductible and 81 per cent believe nannies and au pairs should be deemed “approved child care” and therefore qualify as for child care benefit/tax rebate.
- 71 per cent believe hike from 30 to 50 per cent rebate will make significant difference to cost of child care.
Motherguilt still causing return to work angst for around two thirds of women (63 per cent).
Employers still behind on help for parents - 69 per cent provided no help whatsoever with child care search or other parental support to encourage mothers back to work.
- 37 per cent said finding child care was hard; 61 per cent said daily logistics were hard; 33 per cent said financial complications were hard.
The maternity leave debate: Seventy-five per cent think both the government and employer should jointly foot the bill to the tune of 50 per cent salary for six months. Twenty-two per cent think government should have sole responsibility.
- Only 12.5 per cent of pollsters’ employers provided help in the child care search process or other child care and parental support. Of those that did, 21 per cent allowed flexible hours, 6 per cent helped with child care search, 8 per cent with information and 4 per cent with financial help
- 43 per cent believe 50 per cent salary for maternity pay is fair and sustainable; 35 per cent think paid maternity should be 6 months; 16 per cent think 9 months and 40 per cent think 12 months
About this survey
This survey was the third CareforKids.com.au
® Annual Child Care & Workforce Participation Survey examining the health of Australia’s child care system. The survey is held in the first quarter of every year, the survey 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.
The 2008 survey was completed by 1506 parents with pre-school age children, 75 per cent of whom currently have their children in some form of child care, 25 per cent are currently looking.
Click here to view 2007 results
Click here to view 2006 results
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