Costs of Childcare in Australia and the best ways to minimise your fees!
The rising costs of childcare has been a hot topic amongst Australians. While it provides parents with the opportunity to return to work, it can also take a toll on your finances.
You may find yourself paying for:
Petrol or public transport to and from childcare
Fees if you’re late to pick up your child
Some childcare services still require you to pay on public holidays.
Australian families who send their children to childcare pay between 30 and 40 per cent of their household income, which on average is more than $10 an hour.
Further to this, ABC News produced a report based on how much money working mums lose through childcare costs. The report was based on a study conducted by the Australian National University which found that mothers in full-time jobs may be working for as little as $5 an hour after tax and childcare costs.
Women who worked a lower income were the hardest hit. Even with a full-time salary, a number of women are earning approximately minus (-) $12/hour by Friday.
The graph listed below shows how your income decreases over the duration of a week when working full time. The figures are after the deduction of tax and childcare fees.
Costs of Childcare
Some parents who need to be working full time have opted to work from home 1-2 days a week so they may alleviate some of the costs associated with working. In many cases, these parents are also required to work weekends and nights to make up for lost time.
With the rising costs of childcare, many women are finding that they need to choose between pursuing a career or raising a family. It is a harsh reality when you simply cannot afford to place your kids in childcare so you can go to work.
To help you find a way to save on childcare, we have our top 5 tips below!
Hire a nanny
Au pairs are international students who are looking to live in Australia for a year, or so. They are usually employed by a family for a cultural exchange while living in the family’s home. According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, an au pair’s duties may include:
assist parents with childcare (but aren’t sole carers)
assist with general household tasks, not related to children
complete light household duties related to children, such as folding and tidying up.
Au pair’s may also look after school-aged children anywhere between 15 to 30 hours a week.
In Australia, childcare experience with references, as well as a police check, and working with children’s check may be requirements for an au pair. In addition, they are not covered by an award, however, they are entitled to the national minimum wage and the National Employment Standards. This usually works out to be cheaper than a nanny. As they would be living with you and your family, they would be able to provide more flexibility, compared to childcare.
Adjust your hours
If staying at home with your children full-time is out of the question, how about part-time? You could speak to your employer and negotiate cutting down to part-time hours. Alternatively, you could set a different schedule to only work a few days a week, but work longer hours. Otherwise, there are many jobs out there that offer a flexible work schedule, so you can cut down the childcare hours.
You and your spouse could also coordinate work times to reduce the need for childcare. For example, if you work 7am-3pm, and your spouse works the standard 9am-5pm, you may only require childcare 8:30am -3: 30pm, which would be a significant daily saving.
Ask for help
If you have access to family members or friends nearby, such as grandparents, aunties, and uncles, they may be able to help reduce childcare fees. Ask them if they would be willing to look after your children while you’re at work.
Even this can’t be a full-time arrangement, if they are able to do it a couple of days a week, this would be able to reduce childcare hours, therefore, minimising childcare fees. You may want to consider paying them or pay for any transport and food costs for each child, that the family member may encounter during the day.
Alternatively, you may know other parents who are also looking for childcare. If so, you could organise a nanny to watch both sets of children. This way you can share a nanny with friends or neighbours. With hiring the one nanny, you would be sharing the fees, which would be significantly less than the childcare costs you’re paying at the moment. Therefore, you could be saving more than half than what you’re spending now!
Work from home
Childcare can be expensive. In fact, there are many hidden childcare fees that parents may not be aware of. By working from home a few days a week you can make a huge weekly saving! For example, by reducing childcare by:
1-2 days you could save $208.62 per week
3-4 days you could save $414.88 per week
5 or more days you could save $518.60 per week
You can still be productive working from home while looking after your children! You can work before they get up in the morning, during their nap times, while they’re watching a movie and after they go to bed. Therefore, the decision to work from home has saved parents the fees and stress associated with trying to balance their family with their career. Not only do you get extra time with the kids, but you don’t have to worry about incurring such large childcare costs.
From our research, one of the best working from home jobs is a Medical Transcriptionist! Also, as a medical transcriptionist, you have the flexibility to choose your own work hours. Therefore, this gives you more control over your personal schedule, without having to negotiate work terms and conditions. As a result, you would be able to work while staying home to look after your children!
How can I start a career working from home?
The option of working from home provides you with the flexibility of looking after your children, while still earning an income. Therefore, minimising your childcare costs. Creating a schedule and allocating time for your family, helps with your work time being more productive when working from home.
A career as a qualified Medical Transcriptionist not only allows you to pursue a career working from home, but it provides you with increased flexibility. If you are interested in working from home as a Medical Transcriptionist, TalentMed’s Diploma of Healthcare Documentation provides you with the essential skills and knowledge needed to get a job and excel in this increasingly popular field.
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