Unpaid Childcare is Australia’s Largest Industry – It needs to be acknowledged – The Guardian

Children play as a mothers group meets at a local park on May 13, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.Putting a dollar figure on unpaid childcare – valued at more than $345bn in Australia – encourages governments and employers to factor it into their planning.

Extract from an article by Fiona Smith

We’re all resigned to traffic gridlock on the way to work during the week, but when we are stopped, bumper to bumper, on Saturday mornings, we fume.

The reason we get so angry about clogged roads on the weekends is because we believe everyone else’s travel is optional – it’s mostly parents taking their children to sport and other activities.

It’s the same with school drop-off and pickups. Those parents are getting in the way of people who are working.

Well, taking care of children is working. It might be unpaid, but it is still work and, if parents didn’t do it, they would have to pay someone to take on the task, says PwC partner, Jeremy Thorpe.

Thorpe is a co-author of Understanding the Unpaid Economy, a study that attempts to quantify the value of unpaid work. The report values Australia’s unpaid economy at $2.2tn. Childcare makes up the biggest proportion of unpaid work – 24.6% – and it has a replacement value of more than $345bn (what it would cost to pay someone to do it).\

The value of unpaid childcare makes it Australia’s largest industry, larger than any in the formal economy.

Unsurprisingly, because of traditional role allocation, women do 76% of childcare and 72% of unpaid work overall. They also do 67% of domestic work, 69% of care of adults and 57% of volunteering.

Thorpe says it’s important to put a dollar figure to this unpaid work in order to acknowledge it, and to encourage governments and employers to factor it into their planning.

SOURCE: Smith, Fiona. “Unpaid Childcare is Australia’s Largest Industry: It needs to be acknowledged.” The Guardian, 10 March 2017

Link to website

See also on BroCAP: Understanding the Unpaid Economy – Price Waterhouse Cooper

BroCAP is produced by the two librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia.

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