The OECD have recommended that the government introduce state-subsidised childcare in order to incentivise parents to return to the workforce.
According to the Irish Independent, Herwig Immervoll of the OECD said that childcare costs were “a barrier to women in labour market participation across OECD countries” but that in Ireland they served as a “particularly strong barrier” due to “high costs and limited childcare availability”.
The OECD said that Ireland should consider a short-term subsidy shceme for childcare when parents are getting back into work after being on social welfare. New figures that they will release later this month show that a family with two children spends 40% of the average wage to meet childcare costs, compared to an OECD average of 12%.
However, an Amarach research poll carried out on behalf of the Iona Institute last year found that only 17% of people saw day-care as the preferred option for young children under five years of age.
The preferred option of 49pc was for children in this age group to be looked after during the day by a parent at home and 27% said their preferred option was to be looked after by another family member such as a grandparent. The rest had no opinion.
The poll also found that 62pc of people want State help to be provided to families in the form of a direct payment such as Child Benefit. Just 30pc want extra money allocated to improving the quality of day-care instead.