Media/News Another Test



CAPAA is an industry representative association with extensive experience in the sector.  We welcome the opportunity to speak with the media about au pairs, the industry and calls for a dedicated visa.

Media inquiries should be directed to Anna Prasad (aprasad@aifs.com.au – 0405 822811)

Au Pairs: A Flexible Solution to Rising Childcare Costs

As parents, we understand that finding quality and affordable childcare is a top priority. However, the increasing costs of traditional childcare options can often place a significant burden on the financial well-being of families. Fortunately, there is a flexible alternative that offers both cost-effectiveness and personalised care for your little ones. In this article, we will discuss the changes in the Government Child Care Subsidy based on income and introduce Au Pairs as a viable solution to help alleviate the financial stress associated with childcare expenses.

Understanding the Government Childcare Subsidy:

As middle and high-income earners with children aged 7 years and younger, it’s important to be aware of both the Child Care Subsidy increase and the simultaneous rise in childcare costs. The Child Care Subsidy program provides financial support based on income and care requirements, which can significantly reduce out-of-pocket expenses for eligible families. However, it’s crucial to note that while the subsidy increases, childcare costs have also been rising across Australia, potentially resulting in higher out-of-pocket expenses for parents.

Challenges of Rising Childcare Costs:

Simultaneously, there has been a general trend of childcare costs increasing across the country. According to a recent report [source: abc.net.au], childcare fees have been on the rise due to increased Child Care Subsidy (CCS) rates. This trend has been out of control to such an extent that ACCC launched a watchdog to analyse cost increase practices. ACCC interim report, published on July 5, 2023 confirms that childcare fees rose faster than inflation and wage growth during the past four years, rising by between 20 per cent (for centre based day care and outside school hours care) and 32 per cent (for in home care) as highlighted in the table below.

Table: Childcare fees are rising. ACCC analysis of ABS and Department of Education administrative data. July 5, 2023. URL: https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/Childcare%20inquiry%20-%20Interim%20report%20-%20June%202023_0.pdf

The number of family day care and centre based day care services charging above the hours rate cap (aka family pay 100 per cent out of pocket of that amount) has doubled since 2018.

Table: Childcare inquiry 2023. National average fees and out of pocket expenses. July 5, 2023. URL: https://www.accc.gov.au/inquiries-and-consultations/childcare-inquiry-2023/june-2023-interim-report

As childcare centers receive higher subsidies from the government, some have raised their daily rates. For example, in a study mentioned in the article, it was found that the daily rate for childcare has increased by an average of 5% to 10%.

Considering these developments, it is crucial for parents to carefully evaluate the cost-effectiveness and flexibility of different childcare options. While childcare centers offer reliable care, the increased fees might strain family budgets.

 

The subsidy amount is calculated based on your family’s combined income and activity level. The following table provides an overview of the subsidy rates based on income thresholds:

Family Income

Subsidy Rate

Up to $69,390

85% of childcare fees

$69,391 to $174,390

Gradually reduces to 50%

$174,391 to $253,680

50% of childcare fees

$253,681 to $343,680

Gradually reduces to 20%

$343,681 to $353,680

20% of childcare fees

Under $353,680

No subsidy

Table: Services Australia website. Your income can affect it. Last viewed July 2023. URL: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/your-income-can-affect-child-care-subsidy?context=41186

By considering the simultaneous increase in childcare costs, you can make informed decisions that suit your family’s needs and financial situation. Stay informed about the specific subsidy rates and be proactive in exploring different childcare options to find the most suitable solution for your family.

The Biggest Losers in 2023. Full time working parents in the prime of their career.

with three different families to see how their income impacts their out of pocket expenses. Couple, 2 children in long day care, 5 days a week, max activity test. We have picked a childcare centre in Camberwell, Victoria with daily fees of $170/day/child and assumed an increase of a 5% as of July 2023.

For this fictional family the out of pocket expenses are up by $125.99 per week despite increased subsidy of 74.01 per week. This is an Increase of 35% vs June 30 2023 and prior to price hike! This is an additional increase of  AUD $6,551.48 per annum. Childcare will cost this family AUD $48,151.48 annum our of pocket for the next 12 months.

Cost prior to CCS increase, and prior to childcare cost increase

Cost after childcare subsidy increase, and CCS changes.

Alternatives offering flexibility as well as personalised childcare support

Considering the significant rise in out-of-pocket childcare fees, it’s crucial for families to explore alternative solutions that offer flexibility, personalization, and convenience. One such solution is the option of hosting an Au Pair. Au Pairs provide live-in child care assistance, allowing families to customize their childcare arrangements according to their specific needs. Au Pairs offer a unique cultural exchange experience for children, fostering a global perspective and language exposure from a young age.

Peace of mind for working parents with CAPAA

To ensure the safety and well-being of both children and families, it’s essential to choose a reputable Au Pair agency. The Cultural Au Pair Association of Australia (CAPAA) sets high standards for its member agencies, ensuring that they adhere to a strict code of conduct. CAPAA works diligently to promote the well-being of Au Pairs and the families they work with. By partnering with a CAPAA-approved agency, families can have peace of mind knowing that they are accessing Au Pairs who have undergone thorough screening processes and training to meet the highest safety standards.

If you’re interested in exploring Au Pair as a flexible and cost-effective childcare solution, we encourage you to reach out to CAPAA. CAPAA website provides valuable information about Au Pair programs and connects you with trusted agencies that prioritize the welfare and safety of your children. By consulting with a CAPAA, Au Pair Agency you can receive the right guidance and support in finding the perfect Au Pair match for your family’s unique needs.

Don’t let the increasing childcare costs burden your family financially. Consider the option of hosting an Au Pair through CAPAA-approved agencies, benefiting from a personalized and culturally enriching childcare experience. Reach out to CAPAA today to discover how an Au Pair can be the ideal solution for your family.

Sources:

https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/your-income-can-affect-child-care-subsidy?context=41186

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-06-21/childcare-fees-go-up-with-increased-ccs/102500994

https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/pricing-practices-and-operating-costs-of-childcare-services-to-be-examined-as-latest-accc-report-confirms-fees-outpaced-inflation

https://www.accc.gov.au/inquiries-and-consultations/childcare-inquiry-2023/june-2023-interim-report

https://www.careforkids.com.au/child-care-subsidy-calculator

https://capaa.org.au/

19th June 2023

The association’s submission to the Productivity Commission’s examination of early childhood education and care is one of 151 submissions to the wide-ranging inquiry which is looking at issues including how fees are growing, how care arrangements affect workforce participation, and how affordability and access can be improved. A draft report is due by November.

The au pair association’s president, Anna Prasad, said families are often after the flexibility of earlier morning or later evening care, as well as a second pair of hands.

“We want the government to consider that not every family fits the standard,” she said.

“There are the other options that can help families across all of Australia.”

Access the full article on SMH.

COVID 19 UPDATE : AUSTRALIAN BORDERS ARE NOW OPEN !!

We are looking forward to offering our Au Pair program to our families again and welcoming Au Pairs back into Australia !

For the latest information about the travelling to Australia, please go to:

www.health.gov.au or https://www.smartraveller.gov.au

Au Pairs should always travel with adequate gap year travel insurance. The Insurance provider can give more information about what is covered and how to make a claim.

CAPAA Agencies are closely monitoring the situation in Australia and will provide any additional support to au pairs and families as required.

February 2022 Australia offers FREE Working Holiday Visas!

All Visa Application charges are to be refunded for international visitors who come to Australia on a 417 (Working Holiday) or 462 (Work and Holiday) Visa between January 19 and 19 April 2022. This Visa fee is normally AUD495 per year, so this is a significant saving!

To get a free Working Holiday Visa for Australia, you’ll just need to be approved for your visa and arrive in Australia by 19 April 2022. You will need to pay the regular Visa Application Charge upfront but once you arrive in Australia you can apply for a full refund of your Visa Fee. You will need to claim your refund by 31 December 2022. You can claim your refund for your Visa Application using the Visa Refund Portal on the Department of Home Affairs website.

The Australian Government has pledged to process new Working Holiday Visa and student Visa applications quickly, giving people a realistic opportunity to travel to Australia by the April deadline if you apply now. Out of the new Working Holiday Visa applications submitted over the past few months, 90% were finalised within 18 days.  Here is the latest information on Working Holiday Visas.

Jan 2022 Australia is finally open!

After our international border was closed for almost two years, Australia reopened to eligible visa holders including working holiday visa holders on 15 December 2021. We are really excited to welcome Au Pairs back into Australia, and all our Agency Members are open and ready to take new applications.

February 2019 Legal Opinion
CAPAA has sought legal advice on the nature of a relationship between an au pair, a placement agency and a host family and whether it forms an employment relationship. Each Au Pair relationship is unique. The following table will assist families in forming an opinion about their personal circumstances.

Comparison table of relationship indicia

July 2016 – Media Release:

Last night SBS’ Insight program, Fair Work Fair Pay shone a spotlight on labour exploitation among overseas workers. During the segment the program aired a story about the experience of a 18 year old German Au Pair, Selina Groll who was promised a weekly payment of $250.00 in exchange for child care and room and board. Her payment and experience were unfortunately very different.

“The mum ended up being drunk pretty much every night,”… I had to pay for my food, she didn’t pay for it, she took the car away, so I wasn’t feeling comfortable.”

“The arrangement was she pays me $250 every week … Normally I got paid between $180 or under, and then one week I got only $150.”

Wendi Aylward, President of the Cultural Au Pair Association of Australia (CAPAA) was appalled to hear of Ms Groll’s story. “Unfortunately, Ms Groll’s placement was not through a reputable au pair agency. It is critical that families and au pairs use the services of reputable agencies such as those who are members of CAPAA. These agencies adhere to strict screening of both Au pairs and families and have substantial support in place in the event an Au pair needs assistance”.

CAPAA was established in 2012 with the purpose of protecting and developing the Au pair experience as a rewarding cultural exchange programme. Since its inception CAPAA has actively lobbied for greater transparency in the sector.

In 2014 CAPAA recommended standard compensation for Au Pairs when it presented to the Productivity Commission on the future of Childcare and Early Childhood Learning.  However ultimately the solution lies with the introduction of a regulated Au Pair visa program. “A sponsored visa program with a robust regulatory framework and standard compensation will reduce the likelihood of Au pairs having similar experiences as Ms Groll’s.” says Ms Aylward.

“Au Pairs are part of the childcare landscape in Australia. For many families an au pair is the only option to allow parents to return to the workforce. Steps need to be taken to ensure that it is a safe and transparent experience which delivers what is promised.

Insight’s story sheds light on the exploitation of one Au pair however it should be noted that for most Au pairs their experience is a very good one. “The experience for most Au Pairs is life changing. Living with an Australian family, exchanging culture and learning about each other’s way of life are the very roots of cultural exchange. It is an opportunity that should be fostered and protected”. says Ms Aylward.

July 2015: Au pair services in Australia have become even more attractive with a new 12-month visa ruling for au pairs

Au pairs will now be allowed to stay with a family in Australia for up to 12 months – the full term of their Working Holiday Maker visa. Previously Au pairs could stay a maximum 6 months with a family due to conditions on the visa.  “Families will be ecstatic about the option for their Au pairs to stay up to one year” says Wendi Aylward, president of the Au pair industry association in Australia (CAPAA).

“The Au pair option is really growing in Australia, as more families realise how flexible and affordable it is. Longer placements will address seasonal shortage of Au pairs and cause less disruption for families as the bond formed between children and their Au pair can continue for a longer period.”

Au pairs who have completed 6 months with one family and wish to extend their stay for up to another 6 months with the family will now be able to apply for the extension through the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

The Department’s decision has been made in response to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Childcare. The new ruling is effective immediately and will also apply to Au pairs already in the country wishing to extend their placements.

Media enquiries: Jackie Rylance (Managing Director Dream Nannies ; President CAPAA) E: jackie@dreamnannies.com.au ; M: 0488 014055

Childcare Rebate Should Extend to Au pairs, Commission to Hear - Sydney Morning Herald

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