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Government signals boost to flexible childcare

1 February 2005

Government signals boost to flexible childcare

The government is looking at ways to boost the provision of quality childcare in people's homes as part of the overall solution to increase women's participation in the workforce, Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey announced today.

The new childcare initiatives, expected to be finalised for this year's budget, will be designed for people who are unable to get childcare from existing sources. The initiatives will be in addition to the government's major investment in early childhood education in the 2004 budget that has already led to a 382% increase in the number of families helped with their childcare costs.

"More access to quality childcare means more opportunities for women to join the workforce," Steve Maharey said. "Increasing women's participation in work is vital as we move to meet the growing need for workers throughout industry.

"Today's workforce is an increasingly diverse one – work hours and workplaces vary widely from person to person. With increased diversity comes an increased need to provide innovative solutions to get people into work.

"We are looking at our set of policies – across parental leave, child and out of school care, flexible working hours, and work-life balance – to see how best to move ahead.

"What we know is that our existing policies have been hugely successful. Working for Families has already resulted in a nearly fourfold increase in the number of New Zealanders getting government help to meet their childcare needs.

"The new initiatives will build on this success and the success that this government has enjoyed in helping more New Zealanders into work than ever before."

ENDS

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