A Smart Solution To Ireland’s Rising Childcare Costs
The rising costs of childcare in Ireland has become a widespread cause for concern. The average weekly cost has risen steadily over the last ten years, currently standing at €155.60 per week (€622.40 per month). As a result, Ireland’s childcare costs are now one of the highest among the 36 OECD countries.
Speaking about this growing problem, National Recruitment Federation (NRF) president Frank Farrelly said:
Proper investment in a structured childcare solution is needed, and, in terms of the cost of subsidised childcare, this is expenditure that Government can’t afford not to make, if we are to resource our labour market needs and drive economic progress.
The NRF have submitted a proposal for the upcoming budget outlining areas of improvement regarding the childcare crisis.
At present, the Early Childhood Care and Education Programme (ECCE) is the only scheme operating to ensure childcare costs are affordable. However, the ECCE is only applicable to children aged 2 years and 8 months and supports them until they make the transfer to primary school.
Parents looking to take those tentative first steps back to work find themselves dismayed by the current system of social welfare, which does more to hinder financial security than support it.
People are being “penalised and discouraged” from taking up employment opportunities because of current social welfare rules, it warns. Access to social welfare payments should be calculated on an hourly basis to encourage more casual and part time workers to take up employment and thus reduce the financial burden of social welfare for the Exchequer, says the report.
Mothers that return to work after taking leave have reported feeling alienated and less valued despite previous occupational accomplishments. As one woman reported in this Harvard Business Review article:
“I was promised, ‘You will get all your clients back,’ so that was part of the reason I came back. […] But when I came back, that didn’t happen — I didn’t get any of them back.” On her return, she found that not only did she fail to get her clients back, but the colleague who took them over didn’t even know that she had previously managed them.
Stories like this are not uncommon. Luckily there is a solution to bridge the gap for parents returning to work and those looking to keep childcare costs down or abolished altogether: SmartWorking!
As internet speeds, accessibility and common sense contiue to rise, employers are becoming more open and accepting of work-from-home policies. SmartWorking is a great way for parents to contribute and lend their expertise while still caring for their children, even if it’s just for a few days each week.
If you’d like to know more about approaching your employer to discuss a SmartWorking policy, check out our article with useful tips.
Want to know more about SmartWorking?
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