I’m a working mum. So, like most working mums I have a constant calculator going in my head. Costs in. Costs out.
At the end of the day, I take home a salary. With that money, I pay for my day. Parking, pre-school fees, a babysitter and petrol. There’s a little bit left over. Not much. But a bit.
For a working mum who earns a basic income, that ‘bit’ averages around $4.09 an hour. Which is basically the cost of a cup of coffee.
A report published by News Limited over the weekend showed that the reason women are walking away from the office with so little, is largely because of a rise in childcare fees.
It’s broken down like this:
A low income mother, working part-time who decides to return to full-time work, gets to pocket $4.09 an hour from her $16.37 hourly wage after child care and tax are removed for the extra 20 hours she spends at work each week.
A middle-income mum in the same situation, keeps $7.83 from her $30.70 hourly wage.
And because of a likely reduction in government benefits, a low-income single mum working the same way, pockets just $3.44.
From News Limited:
The Childcare Affordability in Australia report, prepared by AMP and the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, shows increases in the costs of childcare have outstripped petrol price rises over the last five years.
“(Childcare) prices have increased sharply … that’s a challenge for government and families over the next few years because there is no magic way of making child care cheaper,” NATSEM’s principal research fellow Ben Phillips said.
Most wages go towards childcare fees and tax.
The prices of child care in Australia’s major metropolitan cities is extraordinary. Some parents in Sydney are paying up to $170 a day. It’s not unusual for an average family to be paying around $100 a day. This doesn’t provide a child with any posh extra curricular activities like French lessons, yoga or sushi making classes.
This is just standard – good, justifiable, inner city – care.
The report states: “The cost of care, as a percentage of the family budget, also varies widely across the country — ranging from 9.3 per cent of the disposable income of residents in the well-heeled Sydney suburb of Mosman and 11.4 per cent in West Australia’s Kimberly region, to just 3.7 per cent in Queensland’s Charters Towers. Of all the capital cities, Brisbane offers the most affordable childcare.”
It is true that a significant portion of fees can be claimed. For the lower-income earner – the childcare benefits kick in. And for every Australian who has a child in child care, they can claim the rebate. But …