Skip to content
Childcare, Women

MEDIA RELEASE: Expensive and inaccessible childcare reducing women’s workforce participation

Brotherhood of St. Laurence 2 mins read

The high cost and limited accessibility of childcare continues to keep women out of the workforce and affects women's economic security in the short and longer term, according to research by the Brotherhood of St. Laurence (BSL).

 

The latest report from BSL’s longitudinal Life Chances study, Finding a balance? Work, family and economic security, investigated how having children affects financial wellbeing.

 

Our report shows how the high cost of childcare influenced decisions around returning to employment and the number of hours worked. As Tonia, a parent from the study, shared: ‘So, if it’s quite expensive, and that cancels out the pay, then I may as well not go to work.’

 

The study also found limited flexibility and availability of childcare created pressure to accept whatever was offered, rather than parents being able to choose the care that suited them.

 

Following the birth of her first child, Bridget and her wife had wanted to wait six months longer before using childcare but felt forced into accepting a place much earlier because: All the decisions are just around, “Don’t let the door slam shut in your face. You have to take this spot and you have to take it now.” You do not have a choice about that.’

 

More Government action is urgently needed to address these problems especially for those on the lowest incomes. BSL welcomes reforms of recent years, including an increase in the federal childcare subsidy, and the plan to increase paid parental leave to 26 weeks by 2026. But more steps need to be taken for a system that supports women’s workforce participation.

 

These include addressing high effective marginal tax rates that make it less attractive for mothers to work more than three days per week, and the prohibitive costs and rigidities of the childcare system. The federal government must also ensure that the paid parental leave system has adequate provisions to encourage fathers/partners to take parental leave to enable them to share the care of their children.

 

BSL also supports today’s Thrive by Five launch of a draft bill proposing more affordable childcare and preschool along with 52 weeks’ paid parental leave shared between partners.

 

The Brotherhood of St. Laurence is a social justice organisation working to prevent and alleviate poverty across Australia.

 

 

Media enquiries: Bridie Riordan 0491 159 256

More from this category

  • RetailOnline Retail, Women
  • 24/04/2024
  • 08:58
PSA

Best&Less does U-turn on deal to sign garment worker accord

Best&Less has done a U-turn on its commitment to sign an international Accord on worker safety on the anniversary of a factory collapse that crushed 1,138 garment workers. Today is the 11th anniversary of the disaster. In May 2023, following the 10th anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse, Best&Less told ActionAid Australia of its intention to join other Aussie brands like Big W, Kmart, and Cotton On in signing the Accord. But late last year it became apparent Best&Less had lost motivation to sign the Accord. As of February 2024 Best&Less was still sourcing from two factories in Bangladesh, Sayam…

  • Sport Recreation, Women
  • 23/04/2024
  • 05:32
Mother's Day Classic

MOTHER’S DAY CLASSIC ON TRACK FOR RECORD NUMBERS

Running for love has turned into running for someone you love, with a surge in registrations for the runners’ waves at next month’s Women…

  • Contains:
  • Foreign Affairs Trade, Women
  • 22/04/2024
  • 10:00
ARC Centre of Excellence for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Hidden Wars – The end of war for whom?

Hidden Wars is the first published book-length study of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in three contemporary conflict-affected settings in Asia, along with a comparison of the findings. Burma (Myanmar), Sri Lanka and The Philippines have experienced some of the world’s most protracted civil conflicts. When countries deny they are in conflict or are in a post-conflict affected state, as with the countries above, they do not acknowledge or address conflict-related SGBV. The book is based on in-country interviews and a dataset, which coded 5496 reports of SGBV from 1998 to 2016 in Burma, Sri Lanka and The Philippines, allowing…

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.