Two Fine Gael TDs have tabled a proposal for parents to receive a tax credit for directly employing childminders in their own home.
Dun Laoghaire TD and mother of two Maria Bailey and Dublin Bay South TD and mother of three Kate O’Connell say their initiative will give parents back ownership and flexibility when it comes to who minds their children.
Deputy Bailey said: “We see it as having a range of benefits- it will take people off the live register, offer a tax benefit to the parent as an employer and enable children to be looked after in their own home.
“While many people currently pay cash to minders, this new measure would ensure these minders enjoy the benefits of any employee.
“It would operate the same as with any business, parents would draw up a contract with the employee- the childminder, have them vetted and any other measures they see fit.
“They would pay the employee’s wages and then this would be recognised in tax credits for parents at the end of the year.
“This is about creating more choice and giving parents more control over their own family’s childcare arrangements.
“There are numerous benefits to this for the children- they are minded in their own home, it removes the stress of traveling and the minder can develop a close relationship with the child and the family.”
Deputy O’Connell said: “Most people don’t work 9 to 5 anymore and this can create a lot of logistical issues with crèches.
“There may be cost penalties if you are late picking your children up, there can be all kinds of surcharges for school runs and people who may have summer months off work still have to pay for a service they may not be using at certain times of the year.
“A childminder in the home removes these additional stresses and takes the worry out of arranging things like school runs and play dates.
“Other positives include knowing older children can get a helping hand or supervision with their homework and knowing they can make birthday parties or play dates while you are at work, which can be a source of worry or guilt among parents trying to balance busy work lives with the education and happiness of their children.”
Deputy Bailey said: “This is about creating flexible, acceptable and affordable childcare to benefit the entire family.
“It’s about giving middle income earners a break and also helping parents get back to work.
“We recognise the stress and financial burden parent’s face with childcare, and we hope this can be a viable solution for hard pressed parents.
Deputies Bailey and O’Connell have already met with the Finance Minister to discuss the proposals and will meet with him again early this year.
“We are working towards having this initiative in place for Budget 2019”, Deputy Bailey said.