Response to Productivity Commission Draft Findings In-home Childcare/Nannies

Recommendations in today’s draft Productivity Commission Report that money be allocated towards expanding childcare options for working parents is the “voice of sense” according to one of Melbourne’s leading in-home childcare/nanny agencies.

Louise Dunham, Managing Director of government-approved agency Placement Solutions, says, “Nannies aren’t suitable for everyone’s situation but for many parents where both caregivers work full time, the convenience and peace of mind of having the childcarer in the home is the preferred, or sometimes the only, viable option.

“And for parents of more than one child, it means their children can be raised together, rather than having to be placed into separate rooms, as is the usual practice with day care.

“Currently, the Child Care Rebate is extended to government-approved nannies for parents who have special circumstances such as a child who is unwell. We have long argued that the rebate should be available to all parents wanting to use government-approved in-home care.

“This won’t open the system to abuse as some have claimed as long as the nannies are accredited as per the report’s recommendations – parents who prefer day care and find it most suitable for their family’s circumstances and budget will continue to use day care. Rather, it will open up new opportunities for women wanting to return to work or develop their careers, rather than seeing their colleagues being promoted above them.

“In addition to more accessible rebates, in-home childcare can also be made more affordable through ‘nanny share’ – where one nanny cares for the children of two families at once, as is popular in New Zealand’s system.”

Ms Dunham said she supported the report’s recommendation that subsidies should only be offered for government-approved in-home care agencies where the carers met quality (ECEC) standards.

“Obviously quality is something that shouldn’t be compromised when it comes to childcare and parents need support when it comes to choosing the best carer for their child. Another important consideration is that having a nanny legally employed with a child-specific job description also protects the nanny and their rights in terms of payment and expected job duties.

“Lifting restrictions on childcare subsidies for in-home care could also see an increase of income tax revenue for the Government as more nannies would be likely to register with accredited agencies – a high proportion currently work cash-in-hand,” she said.

Notes to editor: the Child Care Rebate is currently provided for Government-approved in-home care for families that meet special eligibility requirements such as children with disabilities, families in a remote area, or parents with three children who have yet to commence school.

Placement Solutions is a Melbourne-based niche recruitment firm specialising in in-home childcare, also known as nannies and household management. The government-approved agency has been operating for 26 years. Louise Dunham is also a member of the National In-home Childcare Association (NICA) and in 2013 was the first person outside of the U.S. appointed to the board of the International Nanny Association (INA). Most recently, Louise was elected as Second Vice President and Chair of the Ethics Committee for the INA.

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