Small Business Ombudsman says affordable care is crucial for small business to survive
As the pandemic support measure of free early childhood education and care (ECEC) ends around Australia, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has outlined that as a result of the termination, many women in small businesses will be faced with the difficult decision of choosing work or their children’s care.
For small business owners, many of whom are also mothers, Ms Carnell said childcare has become unaffordable.
“Many of these young families working in small businesses are relying on JobKeeper, which will not cover childcare fees” she said, adding that the withdrawal of Government support could “force parents – mothers more often than not – out of their jobs, which is detrimental to their business, their families and even worse for the economy.”
“We know women make up more than a third of Australia’s small business owners (38 per cent) and more than 5 million women work in these businesses.
“Recent ABS labour force data shows women have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, with the female participation rate falling dramatically.”
“The government should be monitoring this situation very closely and be considering innovative ways to increase the participation rates for women to ensure productivity gains and to help those in their efforts to get their businesses back on track” Ms Carnell said.
Making childcare tax-effective, or phasing in an expanded subsidy scheme, which the Grattan Institute estimates would deliver an $11 billion economic boost, would be some of the ways in which the Government could better support small businesses, she added.
“Economists have long referred to the ‘double dividend’ of childcare increasing workforce participation rates and providing early education.”
“Equally the government should be monitoring the impact that the reinstatement of fees is having on childcare centres, many of which are small businesses, which have warned of dire consequences of the so-called snap-back to the previous system.”