The Gillard government has acknowledged what most of us already know about childcare.
That is that “centre based care isn’t the answer for every family”. It’s especially not the answer for parents working shifts, long and unpredictable hours, or in flexible working arrangements in order to better balance their careers with family.
Yesterday’s announcement by Childcare Minister Kate Ellis regarding the recipients of a tiny increase in the number of government-subsidised in home care placements will provide welcome relief for some families.
But it’s hardly relief, or any sign of relief, for families not covered by the existing in home scheme. Nor does it show any hope of developing a “nanny culture” in Australia, the lack of which a number of senior executive women have highlighted as seriously hampering a woman’s progress up the corporate ladder.
And during yesterday’s press conference, Ellis confirmed that the government would still not look to extend its limited in care program to a broader range of parents who use nannies – citing difficulties in regulating the industry.
Good Australian workplaces are stepping up initiatives to better support women. They’re broadening flexible working arrangements, ramping up support services for women before and after maternity leave, and looking to better nurture their female pipeline to see more women in their leadership ranks.
But without the affordable and accessible childcare piece of the equation, is it all a waste of time? Tell us what you think below.