Parents forced to work from home or use annual leave after being turned away from full holiday childcare programs

Some 500 Canberra families were turned away from childcare programs this winter, due to a shortage of workers in the sector.

Lee Maiden, chief executive of Communities At Work, said her organization, which is the largest provider of childcare in Canberra, had received more than 6,000 applications, but only about 5,500 children had been offered places.

She said there was a critical staff shortage in the sector, but the demand for school holidays worsened with outbreaks of COVID-19 and the flu meant that the number of places had to be limited.

“We have about 600 staff members in the ACT,” Ms Maiden said.

“If we use every staff member and educator we have to fill these positions, it only takes one or two of them to be sick and we cannot replace them.

Woman with blonde hair and wearing black jacket.
Lee Maiden, CEO of Community at Work, in Canberra. (ABC News: Andrew Kennedy)

Exhaustive effect for workplaces

Graham Catt, CEO of Canberra Business Chamber, said parents who take leave during school holidays, combined with the high sickness rates, have had a huge impact on small businesses in particular.

“For our businesses, that means more parents who can’t come to work,” Mr Catt said.

“It exacerbates the problems in terms of the absence we see every day.

Man with a suit and looking straight ahead.
Graham Catt, CEO of Canberra Business Chamber, said 30 percent of the workforce report sick every day. (ABC News: David Sciasci)

Brooke McBain works in the city and rejuvenated these school holidays with her son’s care.

She said many of her friends were in the same boat with their young children.

“I am happy that I work part-time and that I have the ability to take time off with him,” Ms McBain said.

“I can understand it’s pretty challenging for parents who can’t get off that time and childcare.”

She said the whole pandemic was a challenge for her son

“Juggling with my husband and my hours was challenging, but in the end everyone really supported and my friends are in the same boat,” she said.

More than 1,000 cases of COVID-19 are reported in the ACT every day.

Placed , updated

Related Posts