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Dublin: 3 °C Wednesday 13 November, 2019

Working costs parents up to €400 a week - provisional study

However, the costs fall dramatically as children grow older and begin school.

Commuters at Heuston Station in Dublin
Commuters at Heuston Station in Dublin
Image: Photocall Ireland

TAKING UP A job can cost parents up to €400 a week more than being unemployed, according to a provisional study carried out by researchers at an economic think-tank.

However, the potential costs fall dramatically as children grow older and begin secondary school.

But the working paper drawn up by members of the Nevin Economic Research Institute (NERI) found that there were significant costs associated with working for parents of children of all ages.

Single parents are potentially hardest hit financially if they take up work. The paper, called The Cost Of Work and described as a “work in progress” by NERI, found that a single parent of two pre-school children would face bills of at least €400 extra each week if they took up full-time employment.

This suggests the parent would need a well-paid job in order for it to be worth giving up the One-Parent Family Payment, which is given to single mothers or fathers earning less than €425 per week.

The potential costs for single parents fell to €150 a week when both children are in primary school, and just €50 in secondary school.

The ESRI faced controversy this week when a working paper appeared to suggest that 44 per cent of parents would be better off on benefits than working. The think tank has since revised the figure to 19 per cent.

Two-parent households with two kids face additional bills of up to €232 a week in urban areas, and €219 in rural areas, before the children start school. This falls to around €70 in both urban and rural areas when children begin second-level education.

For single adults without children, the costs of taking up work are much less. In urban areas the study suggests that additional bills could be €2.77 a week, rising to €56 in rural areas to account for transport costs.

The working paper was drawn up using research on the cost of minimum standards of living.

Read: Just 10-20 per cent of people better off on dole, says ESRI>

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Michael Freeman

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