Friday, April 23, 2010

More on cost of childcare

The cost of childcare is getting out of hand, and in some cases, is forcing women out of the workplace. Even if it does not directly affect your circumstances, it is an important issue that impacts on our children (now and in the future) and workplace productivity.

This week, the Government has decided not to build anymore childcare centres because there are too many childcare places available - see the following article:

No doubt there are childcare places available because families can no longer afford the cost of childcare. And yet, there has still been no discussion on the cost of care or the locations of these childcare centres that have places available. The Federal Government should have purchased ABC childcare centres when they had the opportunity. This would have enabled the Government to streamline education requirements of carers, pay them a decent wage (public service scale), and keep a cap on childcare fee increases.

If you would like to register your concern, send us your comments to We will collate your responses and send them to Minister Kate Ellis who is in charge of Early Childhood Education.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What is the Government doing about childcare?

I am very interested in what plans the Federal Government has for childcare. The cost of it is a major obstacle to parents returning to work - and yet Australia is facing an ageing population, and a skills shortage. Furthermore, women now account for nearly half the workplace.

For the interest of CareerMums users, I recently wrote to Kate Ellis and Jenny Macklin about the cost of childcare and how the Government plans to tackle it - see below.

I will keep you informed of the response I receive.

"I run I now have over 15,000 registered users on CareerMums and we are very proactive in providing information to our users on a range of topics including Government policies.

I don’t believe the Government is doing much at the moment on the issue of cost of childcare – unless you can convince me differently.

The cost of care is going up by more than double the inflation rate every year. The 50% child care rebate will be eroded shortly but the cost increases. There is an ageing population, half the workforce are women, and more than 50% of graduates are women. In countries with more advanced child care systems, 70-80% of their child care centres are owned by Government so they are able to monitor pricing and regulation very closely. In Australia, 70-80% are privately owned. What is the Australian Federal Government’s long term strategy on the cost of childcare? Particularly as childcare costs are set to raise with changes to childcare regulations.

I look forward to your response and I will share it with my database."

Friday, April 9, 2010

Working parents and school aged children

We often talk about the challenges of parents returning to work when their children are under 5. These challenges are real and difficult at times.

However, the challenges keep coming after school starts. The ability to work flexible hours becomes even more critical as parents face school hours and school holidays (at least 12 weeks per year and only 4 weeks of holiday days if you work full time).

If you are in the school zone, CareerMums users would love to hear how you are handling the work and family balance. Do you have any tips for handling work, and also for handling family? How have you coped with changing flexibility needs? Is your employer understanding of your challenges?

Return to work stories

CareerMums users want to hear your experiences with returning to work.

Was it an easy transition? How did you cope with childcare? How did you cope with the work and family balancing act? In hindsight, what would you have done differently?

Sharing your experiences will help other women about to head back to work.

How did you negotiate flexibility?

CareerMums users want to know about the success stories when it comes to negotiating a flexible role.

Many people find the 'negotiation' bit the most difficult, but it doesn't have to be if you change the way you think about it. Negotiation is about reaching an agreement by presenting a clear business case and demonstrating that you have considered everyone - not just yourself. Don't forget that parents with children under 5 and parents with disable children under 18 years of age have the right to request flexibility if you have been with the same employer for more than 12 months.

Do you have tips on how you secured a flexible job with your employer?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Childcare costs set to rise

Childcare costs are on the rise. New childcare regulations (fair enough) are coming and this will only add to childcare cost increases that constantly outstrip CPI increases. The trouble is that most childcare centres are privately run so the Government has no influence over price rises. The child care rebate for many parents now provides little or no assistance. So what is the Government doing about it? To get up to speed, read the following article: $125a day to care for kid as childcare sours:

If you have any feedback or comments on this issue, go direct to the source:

Kate Ellis, Minister for Early Childhood Education - View contact details:

Jenny Macklin, Minister for Families - View contact details: