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Is Childcare Costs Preventing You From Going Back To Work?

Is Childcare Costs Preventing You From Going Back To Work?

Is childcare costs preventing you from going back to work
Approximately 3,000 mothers were leaving the workforce annually due to the excessive costs of childcare, a survey showed in 2015. 
The cost of full-time childcare in Ireland had increased by more than €7 per week, from €167 to €174 according to the Early Years Sector profile report 2016/2017 which is the latest report available. 
The report, which was developed and published by Pobal, states that nationally, the cost of a full-time childcare place has recently increased after five years of fees remaining the same.
In total, there are estimated to be over 186,000 children attending early years services across Ireland. Fees are more expensive in affluent areas, in cities, and in private facilities.
Weekly Average
The report also stated 98% of childcare workers are female and shockingly Early Years Assistants earn the lowest average wage of €10.88 per hour.
The report states, 147,514 children availed of at least one of the three Government programmes (ECCE, CCS(P) and TEC), representing a 41% increase on the past year.
In the 2016/2017 report, it showed 4,248 early years services were contracted to offer the ECCE programme nationally, 76% of which were private and 24% were community. 120,601 children benefitted from the programme.
The number of ECCE registrations increased by 65% compared to the previous year, while the number of individual children availing of ECCE increased by 63%. This increase is a direct result of changes in the programme provision allowing children to avail of ECCE beyond one year. 
What other options are there for parents?
According to The National Childcare Agency, lots of other options actually! The National Childcare Agency is primarily a recruitment agency specialising in finding the right childcare solution for families all over Ireland. The agency is based in Dublin and was set up by Natalie Collier in 2013. Natalie has over ten years' experience working with children. 
Here are some other options and cost according to The National Childcare Agency:
A childminder is a person who cares for children in their own home independently and can often care for several children. Guidelines must be met regarding ratios, for example, a minder may mind up to 8 children including her own but only 5 preschool children. There should be no more than 2 toddlers/babies under 15 months, including the minders own children. (Exceptions can be made for multiple births and siblings). (guideline only)
  • Full time €5-€6.50 per hour, daily rate €50 for one child
  • Parttime / after school (incl. school collections) €5-€6.50 ph., daily rate €25
  • For a second child (sibling), most childminders offer a discount bringing the hourly rate to €8 per hour
  • A lot of minders provide food and a lot don’t, there seems to be no general rule of thumb but you should expect to pay more for a minder who provides meals
  • Childminders should be paid 52 weeks of the year and for bank holidays unless there is an extended break, e.g. families who don’t require their minder for the duration of the summer
  • Childminders are self-employed and are therefore responsible for paying their own taxes
  • Some childminders charge minimum wage of €8.65
A nanny is a minder, who works in the family home and is, therefore, your employee so you must pay all relevant tax and social contributions. It is always best to discuss salary in terms of gross pay. A full-time nanny generally works Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. Any extra hours, overtime and additional babysitting is not included within their weekly wage. Rates vary depending on the nanny’s experience, how many children are in your family, the nanny’s qualification and location. (guideline only) 
  • Full time €10 - €12 per hour, €500-€600 gross per week
  • Parttime €12 - €15 per hour, €280 - €375 gross per week (22 hour week)
  • Nannies are paid 52 weeks of the year and are entitled to statutory holidays
  • Nannies should hold a childcare certificate, minimum Fetac 5 and first aid. Many nannies with years of experience can obtain higher salaries
Au Pair
An Au Pair is another childcare option that many families opt for in Ireland. An Au Pair can be a great option for families who only want up to 35 hours of babysitting per week and have a spare room. 
An Au pair is paid weekly pocket money and given free bed and board in return for babysitting and some light housework. Au Pairs’ pocket money varies hugely depending on location, Dublin is the most expensive to host an Au Pair with Cork and Galway not too far behind and again the Midlands being the least expensive.
  • In Dublin, a full time live in Au Pair (25-35 hours per week including babysitting) receives between €115 - €150 pocket money per week
  • In Cork and Galway, the weekly pocket money is between €100 - €140
  • In other parts of the country, weekly pocket money can range from € 80 - €100
  • Live out Au Pairs are employees and should be paid minimum wage of €8.65 per hour
How to choose a potential childminder?
Arrange to visit potential Childminders in their own homes, ideally when there are children there so you can see if the atmosphere is happy and busy. Ask to look over the house and see the areas available to the children. Have a look at the toys, books and equipment. Ask lots of questions! You should always ask for character references and follow this up.
  • What experience does the Childminder have? Are they insured?
  • Do they have any training in first aid or childcare?
  • What do they charge? What is included, for example, meals, nappies, etc.?
Maybe a Creche is a way to go for you?
Mum of three Karen Glackin, tell us why Creche was the right choice for her.
"I chose to go with a creche as I feel more comfortable with it-safety in numbers. With a childminder, I would worry that I don’t really know what they are doing all day. They don’t have any colleagues to compensate for them, report them if they are doing something wrong. With a creche, they have a nice schedule with age-appropriate activities and also lots of time for free play too-I love how they get to socialise with other kids too. However, I don’t think all creches are equal- I chose one where I truly believe the staff are genuinely passionate about their jobs."
Written by Laura Doyle staff writer at FFHQ who also blogs at