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25th Jul 2023

Parents call on Government to fund creches opening at weekends

Ellen Fitzpatrick

Parents are calling on the Government to fund the opening of creches at the weekend to help those who work outside of the usual Monday to Friday.

In a recent survey, six in 10 workers said childcare costs are now unaffordable and found that mothers are more likely to leave the workforce due to this than their partners.

The survey was carried out by Excel Recruitment and it included responses from 563 workers.

The survey found that 58% of couples with children said their partner was forced to give up work due to the cost of childcare, and in 62% of these cases, it was a woman who left work.

Nikki Murran, director of Grocery Retail at Excel Recruitment, said that in a 2021 study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Ireland was the third most expensive country in the European Union for childcare.

“Moreover, parents in urban areas, especially in Dublin, face exorbitant creche fees that often surpass €1,350 per month and beyond,” she said.

“More than six in 10 people said that the responsibility of quitting work to address childcare expenses fell on the woman parent. There is a need for greater gender equality regarding the decision to sacrifice one’s career for childcare responsibilities, as it is primarily women who bear this burden.”

More than half of the parents surveyed said they would consider working on Saturdays and Sundays if there was a creche open on weekends.

The majority of creches only cater to weekdays and leave many parents needing more childcare services.

“This lack of flexibility hinders parents’ ability to pursue their careers or find suitable employment, leading to potential workforce attrition,” Murran added.

She also said that establishing and maintaining weekend crèches would be a challenge for childcare providers due to costs, licensing requirements and staffing.

The agency has now called on the Government to consider new approaches which would ideally see them invest in the establishment of weekend crèches, to improve access to affordable and flexible childcare services.