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Child care participation and maternal employment trends in Australia

10 Dec 2013
Description

This paper explores trends in types of child care for children aged under 12 years old with employed mothers in Australia, from the 1980s through to 2011, to examine how the roles of different forms of care provision have changed in this environment of increasing maternal employment.

Abstract

Many industrialised countries, Australia included, have experienced significant growth in maternal employment over recent decades, even among mothers of very young children. This has meant that many families have found different ways of managing child care responsibilities, and as such, formal child care provision has become a key strategy and government priority in addressing work–family reconciliation. Despite this, trends in child care use have rarely been analysed specifically in relation to maternal employment. This paper explores trends in types of child care for children aged under 12 years old with employed mothers in Australia, from the 1980s through to 2011, to examine how the roles of different forms of care provision have changed in this environment of increasing maternal employment. The paper demonstrates that maternal employment is not always associated with extensive use of formal child care, with much of the child care for maternal employment being provided informally by family members. Nevertheless, there has been much more use of formal child care (especially long day care centres for younger children and outside-school-hours care for school-aged children) for children of employed mothers over this time. This care has not, however, displaced informal care, with formal child care often being combined with informal child care. Also, there continues to be a portion of the population who manage without non-parental child care, and this is to some extent related to some mothers (and to a much lesser extent, fathers) working short hours, being self-employed, working from home or working flexible hours.

Publication Details
Published year only: 
2013
6
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