How do employers and their working parent employees fair in Budget 2016? Was it fair and what is the real cost to the Australian economy?
The previously promised $3.2 billion reforms aimed at increasing the affordability of Childcare for Australia’s one million working families are no where to be found in the 2016 Budget.
Parents At Work Founder and Director Emma Walsh comments: “It’s disappointing that some the hardest working Australian’s – working parents – have, for the most part, been forgotten in this recent budget”.
The child care rebate has remained at $7,500 per child per year since 2008. The cost of child care has not remained the same since 2008. In fact it has grown almost 30% to an average $400 per week for a 50 hour week for long day care.* This adds extra stress to many working parents and families, requiring them to work harder than ever to make ends meat. For some families this becomes too challenging and forces one parent to drop out of the paid workforce, contributing to a brain drain of female talent from the Australian labour market.
Budget papers state “The Government remains committed to providing parents with more choice and opportunity to work through the Jobs For Families Child Care package announced at the 2015-2016 Budget… which will now commence on July 1, 2018.”
“Waiting 3 years to address the issue of child care affordability is not good enough for working parents,” Walsh comments. “It’s not good news for Australian businesses either with new research finding that juggling work and family commitments costs Australia $24 billion in lost productivity each year.”
In light of Budget 2016, it’s become an even greater necessity that organisations need to support their employees in managing their work and caring responsibilities. Offering carer programs, practical tools and courses that support working parents to navigate the child care system and parental leave legislation is one way Australian businesses can help improve productivity and employee wellbeing.
Join Parents At Work and Juggle Street on the 27th May for a one-hour special webinar – The Real Business Cost of Juggling Work & Family – to learn about the findings of the new report revealing the real cost to Australian businesses of working parents juggling their work and caring responsibilities.
* Report on Government Services 2016, Chapter 3 Early Childhood Education & Care, pg 191 Table 3A.39 Median weekly cost of 50 hours of Australian Government CCB approved child care services, by selected service types ($/week) (2014-15 dollars) (a). Published 4 February 2016 by Productivity Commission