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October 12th, 2021

The Parenthood: Shift needed for families of retail workers to access affordable early learning and care that meets their needs.

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Shift needed for families of retail workers to access affordable early learning and care that meets their needs

The Parenthood has welcomed a new report released today that highlights the challenges of too many retail, supermarket and warehouse workers in finding early learning and care that is affordable, especially when work is precarious, and flexible enough to accommodate shift work and irregular hours.

The survey of 6,500 workers, conducted by Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW for the SDA union, found more than a third (35 percent) of mothers and 27 percent of fathers indicated they would work more hours if they could access more suitable childcare.

The Parenthood Executive Director Georgie Dent said, “The way we work, particularly in retail and warehousing, is undergoing massive transformation yet Australia’s early learning and child care system is not keeping up with the needs of modern families.

“Parents working shifts, casual or non-standard hours in retail, supermarkets and warehouses are very much “forgotten families” when it comes to early learning options.

“The burden of early learning and care fees force too many working families into terrible choices, including discouraging parents from going back to work or working more and removing young children from early learning programs that are crucial for their early development.

“There are also limited and, in some postcodes, no viable options available for early learning and care outside of regular hours or when a worker can’t be sure of their shifts from week to week.

“This is yet more proof of why Australia must urgently invest in universal access to high quality, affordable and accessible early learning and care. It is vital social infrastructure that will enable Australia to recover and build back from the pandemic,” Ms Dent said.