It’s a common scenario when you first get those two little lines on the pregnancy test.
First step: squeal with delight/choke with shock. Second step: Try to put your child’s name down for childcare. Third step: tell your partner.
Having recently gone back to work after having three kids over a short period of time, I faced the terrifying situation of finding childcare.I hit a dead end. One centre actually laughed when I used the phrase “ as soon as possible”.
Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by My Super Nanny. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their words.
Having worked freelance for the last few years I had only heard about this so-called childcare shortage. Sure I knew it would be tough, but I thought that surely there would be something – but was I kidding myself. I was lucky – working for a very flexible employer (thanks Mamamia) I’ve managed to fit my work into the hours before my kids get up, and after they go to bed. So I * happily * set my alarm for 3.40am every day and start work then, setting off to my “office” in my PJs and ugghhs, hoping that I won’t wake up my kids.
Other women though are not so lucky. Because other employers are not so flexible.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011 Census, there are 3.4 million Australian women who are NOT participating in our workforce. And one of the main factors prohibiting women from working is a lack of available, affordable and convenient childcare.
In fact ABS data shows that childcare costs for parents have increased by 44 per cent over the last six years.
A recent report showed that childcare costs could double for thousands of parents after the Government announced they would freeze the maximum amount that families could claim for the childcare rebate until 2017.
Of course a lack of childcare has a whole raft of other economic issues as well. With women not participating in the workforce our economy suffers.
Economists worldwide have expressed concern over countries with a low rate of female employment and how they will cope in the future when these women hit retirement and have no superannuation.
In 2006, The Economist Magazine famously stated “Forget China, India and the Internet – economic growth is driven by women”.
But in the seven years since they said this the main factor in getting women into the workforce – childcare – is an even greater issue.
A COAG report Tracking Equity: Comparing Outcomes for Women and Girls across Australia released this month pointed to the relatively low rates of participation in the workforce by Australian women compared with similar developed countries. The reports authors stressed the importance of having affordable and accessible childcare on women’s participation in the workplace.
Nationwide it’s a problem. With waiting lists in some states hitting the three-year mark. Anecdotally parents tend to use a whole combination of care – nannies, grandparents, baby sitters, family day care, and structured child care environments.