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Majority of childcare providers will not increase fees in 2017

Majority of childcare providers will not increase fees in 2017

August 15, 2017

Media interest in childcare fees has increased ahead of the roll out of ‘More Affordable Childcare’ in September 2017.  More Affordable Childcare includes a universal subsidy of up to €20 per child per week for all children between 6 months and 3 years of age in Tusla registered childcare and enhanced targeted subsidies under the existing means tested supports for children aged 6 months to 15 years of age. The subsidies will be paid directly to the provider, with the amount of the subsidy deducted from the fees charged to parents.

Early Childhood Ireland (ECI) carried out a survey of childcare providers in Ireland to gather information on their plans to change fees in the coming months. The survey also sought information on increases which were made in recent years.

We received an overwhelming response from providers across the country, and we would like to thank everyone who took the time to respond.

 

Response Rate

We received 633 responses to our survey. This figure represents 19.8% of our 3,200 service providing members.

 

The Results

Our survey found that 79% of respondents have no plans to increase fees for their services in September and that 74% have not increased fees in the past two years.

Of those who indicated that there would be an increase in fees, the average amount will be €9.14 per child per week. This is an increase of 5.47% on the current average fee in the early years sector (based on national average figures from the Pobal Early Years Sector Profile 2015/6.)

We received responses from providers of both full day care and sessional services.

Approximately 40% of respondents operated a full day care service. Of this grouping, 67% indicated that they did not have plans to increase prices in September, and 76% responded that they had not increased prices for their services in the last two years.

56% of respondents identified as sessional providers. 88% of this grouping indicated that they would not be increasing prices in September, and 81% replied that there had not been an increase in their fees in the last two years.

 

Regional breakdown

In Dublin, 81% of those surveyed indicated that there would not be an increase in their fees in September. This correlates broadly with respondents located elsewhere in Leinster, as 85% of providers there indicated that they did not plan to increase prices next month.

In Munster, 65% of respondents replied that they would not be increasing fees. 74% of Connaught-based providers indicated that there would not be increasing fees, and 60% of respondents in Ulster also said they will not have any increase.

Of those who said that they would increase their fees charged for their services, the weekly average was €8.12 in Dublin, €5.16 in the rest of Leinster, €9.14 in Munster, €5.10 in Connaught, and €9.50 in Ulster.

 

ECI Response

Our latest members survey once again illustrates the diverse experiences of providers in the early years sector. Our report Doing the Sums: The Real Cost of Providing Childcare found that there are significant differences in the operating costs faced by urban and rural services, with many urban services experiencing higher rent, rates, insurance, and maintenance costs. There is also a worrying tendency in privately-owned services for owners or managers to reduce their own salaries to supplement operational costs in their businesses.

In the early years sector, the average service operates on a breakeven basis at best with numerous early years staff employed on a part-time and/or 38-week basis, and many earning less than the living wage.

It is in this context that possible increases in childcare fees must be considered, as each of the costs outlined above impact on the fees charged by providers.

The future capacity of our vibrant and diverse early years sector is of ongoing concern. Early Childhood Ireland continues to highlight to policy makers that affordability, quality and sustainability are interlinked and each should fully and equitably addressed in Budget 2018.

 

Voucher

As a thank you to participants for their time in completing the survey, respondents were entered in a draw to win a €100 One4All voucher. The winner of the draw is Fiona Blackburn of Baldoyle Playschool in Dublin. Congratulations!

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