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Working Mothers Take Most Childcare Responsibility

Employed mothers are still more likely than fathers to take time off to care for sick children or during school holidays, according to "Childcare, Families and Work", released today.

The report, published by the Department of Labour and NACEW, the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women, represents New Zealand's first comprehensive national survey on childcare and its relationship to participation in employment.

Speaking at the report's launch, Claire Johnstone, Chairperson of NACEW commented that childcare responsibilities impacted on women's employment. The survey results show that problems accessing early childhood education and care have an impact on employment for around a quarter of mothers, with the majority of these mother reporting that they were prevented from looking for a job.

"While part time work is often seen as a flexible solution to mothers juggling work and family responsibilities, the research also shows that some parents are prevented from changing the hours that they regularly work due to difficulties with childcare

arrangements," said Ms Johnstone. "We suspect that women still pay a high price with broken careers, part-time and casual employment, and the juggling of what is undeniably two jobs."

"It is also clear that for our nation's employers, the vast majority of whom are small enterprises employing five or less staff, flexibility and an understanding of childcare responsibilities are important considerations."

The report shows that both the cost and type of services available were issues affecting women's employment. While the issues differ depending on the age of the child, the care arrangements for around 20% of children are reported as requiring change by their parents.

The report data was drawn from a survey of approximately 3,800 families with children under the age of 14 years and fieldwork was conducted by Statistics New Zealand as a supplement to the Household Labour Force Survey in the 1998 September quarter. It is available from leading bookstores for $14.95 (GST inclusive).




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