Sharing the love call to make nannies more affordable

Making in-home care more affordable through extended nanny rebates and the promotion of ‘nanny sharing’ should be a focus of the Productivity Commission, industry expert Louise Dunham said today after the release of the Commission’s issues paper.

Ms Dunham, a director of the International Nanny Association (which is U.S.A. based) and Managing Director of Placement Solutions in Melbourne, said the proposed extension to nanny rebates would need to be carefully managed to ensure the system wasn’t abused.

“I welcome both the Productivity Commission into childcare and calls from the industry to lift restrictions on the Child Care Rebate, however this should still only apply to government-approved in-home care – many nannies currently working in Australia are unqualified to look after young children and it would be frightening to see government funding going towards inadequate childcare.

“The Prime Minister’s goal of having a system responsive to the needs of today’s families can only be achieved if childcare isn’t viewed as ‘one size fits all’, but rather a system that accommodates a range of individual needs, whether the best fit for a family is long day care, family day care or in-home care.

“In addition to extended 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. Many parents are unaware this option of childcare exists and the Productivity Commission could look at a way to better promote this.

“With long day care places scarce in some areas, this would eliminate the need to invest money in more childcare facilities,” Ms Dunham said.

While Australian figures for nannies are difficult to source, Ms Dunham said U.S. figures estimated the tax cheat rate at 85% of people who employed baby sitters, housekeepers and home health aides.

“Lifting restrictions on the Child Care Rebate 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,” she said.

The recent Child Care in Australia report (August 2013) shows demand for Family Day Care and In-home Childcare is on the rise with an 8% increase of children in this form of care Australia-wide.