A “worryingly low” number of women are taking up employment, the National Recruitment Federation (NRF) has said. In a pre-budget submission, the representative body for the State’s recruitment industry warned the rapid decline in unemployment poses “significant challenges for the economy”, and the low participation rates of women over the age of 35 – when most women have become mothers – needed to be addressed.
The lobby group argued that the high cost of childcare, and aspects of the social welfare system, were causing women to not go back to work, and that without action, economic progress would suffer as a result. CSO data show that only small minority of couples wish to put their children into daycare.
“Proper investment in a structured childcare solution is needed, and, in terms of the cost of subsidised childcare, this is expenditure that Government can’t afford not to make, if we are to resource our labour market needs and drive economic progress,” said Mr Farrelly.
The lobby group also argued the so-called “granny grant” – an initiative to offer €1,000 to grandparents who help with childcare – is an inadequate response for an issue requiring “serious investment”.