Dublin Chamber Calls For Increased Childcare Support

Dublin Chamber is calling on the Government to double the universal childcare subsidy in the Budget for 2019.

The chamber is the first business group to call for increased childcare funding in next year’s Budget, which will be announced in early October. This would mean the maximum universal subsidy would be doubled from €80 to €160 per month for young children in full-time care, with similar increases to follow in the coming years.

Speaking ahead of the launch of Dublin Chamber’s pre-Budget submission, the Chamber’s CEO Mary Rose Burke said: “Childcare affordability doesn’t just affect quality of life and family wellbeing. It is a hard business issue, impacting both the cost and availability of staff. Ireland’s greatest asset is its people. We need to invest in our workforce, both to protect quality of life and ensure business competitiveness ahead of Brexit. In particular, we need to start boosting female workforce participation.”

Research carried out by Dublin Chamber shows that three-quarters of firms in the Greater Dublin Area report that the cost of childcare is having a material negative impact on their business. Meanwhile, the same research shows that almost 1 in 5 chamber members have specifically identified easing female labour market participation as a solution to helping them access the skills they require.

The chamber says that this impacts workplace participation by women, who are disproportionately affected by childcare cost. “Ireland has the largest gender gap in employment in Northern Europe, with the female employment rate in Ireland more than 10 percentage points lower than the male rate,” said Burke. “Among people of child-rearing age, there are 135,000 fewer women in the labour force than men. We need to turn this around.”