ASTRONOMICAL childcare fees are tempting more Cork professionals out of the workplace as the cost of living reaches dangerous levels.
That’s according to working parents who spoke toabout the strain on their family resulting from financial stress. This was due mainly to childcare expenses required to keep both parents in the workforce.
Parents may see their childcare bills slashed by a quarter in the next few months as announcements relating to Budget 23 draw closer. Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman has already pledged to cut childcare fees in half over the next two Budgets.
Meanwhile, mum of two and software engineer Anju John, who lives in Glanmire, admitted that the cost of childcare was so restricting for her, she had to base her family planning around it.
“I have two kids who do afterschool,” she said.
“One is six and is in Senior Infants. The other is five and in Juniors. I am currently paying €730 a month on childcare. The boys only do three days a week and I keep them with me while I work from home on the other two days to save costs. My family planning was based around childcare costs.
"I had my two children close together in order to have my maternity leave back to back and save money on childcare. Nobody should have to plan their whole life around saving money on childcare costs.”
Anju’s husband also enjoys working and is a mechanical engineer. However, if the situation fails to improve, she fears that one of them may have to leave the workplace.
“There are no real financial benefits to both of us working because the childcare expenses eat up so much of your income,” she said.
“You read a lot about contributing to a pension but this leaves me with zero in my hand. The work really benefits my mental health because I don’t think I could cope with being a stay-at-home mum. I love what I do and was dying to go back to work after each baby.”
She said there is little financial benefit for working parents in Ireland.
Childcare costs have proved a real struggle for the family.
“We are at home thinking about how we are going to do this. It affects you in every way. This has become a real struggle. If there was tax relief rather than giving out money to everyone I feel this is the best solution. If the money isn’t there then it won’t be invested in the next generation. We need our children to be in a better position than we were. I always feel like I have to give more than what I have so they can become better humans. Kids need to be given the opportunities to grow and explore their talents.”