Securing childcare in Australia can come at a premium to owners and operators of SMEs as well as families. And its often the period waiting for a spot to come up for your child that can cost self-employed families precious time, money and workplace stress. The latest patterns of formal childcare use vary by age: Under two years of age, 22 per cent of children usually attend, whilst a staggering 54 per cent of two and three-year-olds use such a service.
The stress and strain of childcare placement (or lack thereof) is evident across pregnancy and parenting forums, with the hot topic of childcare options and wait list times being discussed. Anxious parents often upload questions on discussion boards, with comments including, “When should we wait list our unborn child?”, “How many wait lists should one join?” and “Should I seek out suitable childcare centres in my first trimester?”
In fact, across Australia, booking children into a reputable childcare centre – before they are born – has superseded parents’ high school waitlist enrolment priorities!
Sadly over 55,000 Australian children were actually turned away from childcare centres due to a lack of places, according to data released from Australia Bureau of Statistics. This is a big issue and the peak time for childcare stress and struggle is November, December and January: birth rates increase in the later part of the year, SME owners and operators forecast for the year ahead and many working parents are busy preparing for their next “life employment phase.”
Put simply, Australia is crying out for faster, more achievable childcare options and decreased wait list times.
A recent initiative, destined to ease the childcare placement squeeze is DEXUS’s partnership with Guardian Early Learning Group, offering DEXUS customers priority access to available childcare places. This initiative is expected to provide greater convenience and flexibility for those business owners and working families who make up the company’s customer base.
Deborah Coakley who is a mother of two and DEXUS’s executive General Manager, Customer and Marketing, understands firsthand the issue of securing childcare can be for working parents.
“While the decision to use childcare can be a big one, parents need a sense of support and certainty. Our initiative with Guardian is aimed at providing a hassle free childcare placement for many, many Australians families,” says Coakley. “Deciding on a suitable childcare centre for your child is one thing, actually securing a spot for them is another!”
Darren Steinberg, the company’s CEO, says “Our partnership with Guardian will bring further benefits to our small business owners, customers and their employees, enabling them a better opportunity to secure childcare places which are becoming an increasingly scarce commodity. This is an important offering which enhances our customer experience.”
“What we were hearing from many of our customers is that being able to transition employees back to the office after they had had a child was a real driver of productivity, and we’ve provided them with a solution,” concludes Coakley.
Inside Small Business