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Proposals to give parents a tax credit for directly employing childminders in their own home

Many people currently pay cash to their childminder, but this new measure would ensure these minders receive the benefits of any employee.

Image: Shutterstock/Geinz Angelina

A NEW PROPOSAL by two Fine Gael TDs would see parents receiving a tax credit for directly employing childminders in their own home.

Many people currently pay cash to their childminder, but this new measure would ensure these minders receive the benefits of any employee.

Operating the same as a business, parents would draw up a contract with the employee – the childminder – and pay the employee’s wages as usual. This would be recognised in tax credits for parents at the end of the year.

Dun Laoghaire TD and mother of two Maria Bailey and Dublin Bay South TD and mother of three Kate O’Connell said their initiative will take people off the live register by offering a tax benefit to the parent as an employer and enable children to be looked after in their own home.

“This is about creating more choice and giving parents more control over their own family’s childcare arrangements.

“There are numerous benefits to this for the children – they are minded in their own home, it removes the stress of traveling and the minder can develop a close relationship with the child and the family,” said Bailey.

O’Connell said most people don’t work 9 to 5 anymore and this can create a lot of logistical issues with crèches.

“There may be cost penalties if you are late picking your children up, there can be all kinds of surcharges for school runs and people who may have summer months off work still have to pay for a service they may not be using at certain times of the year,” she said, adding:

A childminder in the home removes these additional stresses and takes the worry out of arranging things like school runs and play dates.
Other positives include knowing older children can get a helping hand or supervision with their homework and knowing they can make birthday parties or play dates while you are at work, which can be a source of worry or guilt among parents trying to balance busy work lives with the education and happiness of their children.

Bailey said giving a tax credit to parents would create flexible, acceptable and affordable childcare to benefit the entire family.

“It’s about giving middle-income earners a break and also helping parents get back to work.

“We recognise the stress and financial burden parents face with childcare, and we hope this can be a viable solution for hard pressed parents,” she said.

Bailey and O’Connell said they have already met with the Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe to discuss the proposals and will meet with him again early this year.

The two deputies said they would like to see the measure introduced in Budget 2019.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has already signalled a rise in childcare subsidies for families on lower incomes in the next Budget.

Referencing the means-tested subsidies for lower-income families, he told reporters:

“I expect that will increase next year, although that will be a matter for the next Budget.”

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