Nanny subsidy may boost women in workforce

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Nanny subsidy may boost women in workforce

A federal government trial of subsidies for nannies will benefit thousands of shiftworkers and their families and has great potential to improve access to childcare services, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry says.

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A federal government trial of subsidies for nannies will benefit thousands of shiftworkers and their families and has great potential to improve access to childcare services, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry says.

Kate Carnell AO, CEO of the ACCI, said: “We need to find ways to improve rates of female participation in the workforce, and support for families to use nannies helps to achieve this. For seven years the proportion of women in work or study has stayed static at about 59 per cent. We know that a 6 per cent increase in this rate can lead to a $25 billion increase in GDP. 

“The Interim Home Based Carer Subsidy Program announced by the federal government today will offer subsidised nannies to care for 10,000 children in low- and middle-income families with parents working, studying or looking for work. This is a great step, and is in line with the recommendations the ACCI has previously made to the federal government.

“We will watch the two-year trial with keen interest and anticipate that it will create the platform for subsidised nannies to be available to many more families. 

“The benefits of this program will extend beyond the 10,000 families involved – it will help other families by easing the demand for scarce childcare places; it will help employers keep staff focused and productive; and it will create job opportunities for the nannies themselves.

“In implementing the scheme there needs to be regulatory oversight, including a registration system and compliance monitoring. The requirement by the government for the nannies to already be employed by an approved service provider would appear to alleviate concerns.

Visa for au pairs


“The federal government should also consider making it easier for households to employ au pairs from overseas to meet their childcare needs. This would involve creating a specialist visa category for au pairs and establishing a registration system. It is not envisaged that subsidies be available for households employing au pairs.

“The proposed activity test for households receiving childcare support is welcome and will ensure that the $7 billion the federal government spends on childcare subsidies each year is most effective in boosting workforce participation. The requirement for parents to undertake 24 hours of activity a fortnight under an activity test is a reasonable expectation for the receipt of a subsidy. 

“Access to childcare by people looking for work could be provided either by state government occasional care centres or by special arrangements with long day care centres.”



 
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