Why Are People Paying for Childcare While WFH?

Since most parents rely on childcare subsidies, I guess the question could also be "why are WE (the taxpayer) paying for childcare even though it's not currently needed?"

This has me genuinely curious. Everyone I talk to at work is constantly on about dropping off or picking up their kids from daycare, but I feel too awkward to ask why they're paying for someone to take care of their kids while they're at home everyday anyway. I'm assuming it's because they prefer not to be bothered by their kids while working, which makes sense, but I just don't see why they should still be getting subsidised for that. There are lots of things which would make life easier while WFH but the line has to be drawn between essential public services vs unnecessary luxuries. If parents can't even ship their kids off to school, why are they allowed to unload them onto daycare at the taxpayers's expense?

I'm sure there are some parents who genuinely need daycare while WFH, but let's not pretend that this is the majority.

EDIT - after considering all replies, I have come to appreciate the dire need for daycare centres in this country. Some people really shouldn't be taking care of children.

I would also like to clarify that I do NOT have kids, however this doesn't mean I don't have a right to question where my taxes go. Everyone has a right to propose how their own money should be spent.


      • +1

        Seem he prefers animal company to other people. Moreover with his tone deafness to other people's argument, I would risk a statement that finding a partner would be on a bit more challenging side of spectrum.

        I guess we are fairly safe in regards to aforementioned.

        In the meantime - quick! Have more children and gobble up HIS tax money! :P

  • +1

    Why are we the taxpayer paying for a great many things.

    Most people receive government assistance and don't realise they do.

    Health insurance rebate
    Superannuation deductions

    Then there are blatant rorts

    Eg most work cars / pseudofakebs companies.

    So to target childcare is a bit unfair really.

    The whole system is redistribution of low to mid upper income earner money to the wealthy.

    Eg I get the ass taxed out of me (low to mid high income earner) and it goes to people who then get charged over the top rent to the person who controls the assets.

    It is a joke, people believing that being given more handouts creates equality when it does the opposite.

  • +1

    The assumption that looking after 4 kids is 4x as much work as looking after 1 is mind boggling to me… Our entire industrial economy is built on economies of scale, such that making 4 sandwiches doesn't take 4x longer than making 1 sandwich, as the overheads only apply once to get all the ingredients from the fridge, the utensils from the draw, etc.

    If you fail to grasp this simple concept, then there isn't much more to say… although 3 pages in i have a feeling this will fall on deaf ears as has every other comment so far

    • +1

      As someone with more than 3 children, I can tell you that one child does not fight with themselves.

      Your argument is wrong.

      What happens if you need an extra fridge for the 4th sandwich and the PowerPoint for it is upstairs ?

      • -2

        In a daycare kitchen, the powerpoint for a fridge is not upstairs… I honestly don't even know what your point is. A daycare is capable of taking care of much more kids at a given point in time due to being able to scale the SAME activity for multiple children. Something that isn't as efficient as taking care of a single child whilst trying to do a completely UNRELATED role such as whatever i need to do for my own employment. Similarly, I can take care of my nieces at the same time as my own child without needing to put in twice as much effort.

        What I CAN'T do is perform my job to a high standard whilst needing to supervise children at the same time. Slavoz seems to think you just 'check in on them' every 30-60 minutes between meetings, which is so absolutely far from the truth that I don't even know if any sort of explanation of what taking care of infants involves can bring him back to reality

        • -1

          Well I GUESS you MADE your POINT.

          What I am saying is that once you put a group together the dynamic changes. 3 kids might be easy to handle but add a 4th and bam, it is not predictable.

          So to say looking after kids is predictable is nonsense.

          Stop trying to do it.

          • -1

            @mdavant: Wait, at what point did i say that looking after kids is predictable? I said making sandwiches benefits from scaling? Massive straw man lol

            I never said looking after 4 kids was the SAME work as looking after 1, I just said that it isn't 4x as much work. Which is why daycares are able to look after more children than what a parent is able to do whilst performing a job.

            • -1

              @norrisrules: If you are going to use an example poorly, expect to be questioned on it.

              It is no strawman.

              To point out that is does not scale is entirely appropriate!

              So there is no strawman, just a poor argument from you.

      • Should've thought of that before having the kids. There's alot of irresponsible parents that take kids as a commodity/object.

        They always use the excuse "well, We'll cross that bridge when we cross it" and when things go way south, they expect society to contribute for their own negligence/incompetence as a parent.

        Then you get those parents that complains about blah blah blah in front of schools.

        • Agree, people should be more responsible for their choices.

          I do have a belief that family assistance and middle class welfare are out of control in this country. So many people live excessive lifestyles due to the work of others due to these historical vote buying policies by the worst treasurer we have ever had (Costello)

          But for a poster to not understand that looking after kids is difficult and not predictable is just crazy.

      • +11

        Your ignoranace of what taking care of kids actually involves is astonishing. Infants don't need attention once every 2 hours when you get a coffee, or go chat with a coworker for 5 minutes, they need to be interacted with every few minutes for the entire day. Whether that be setting up activities, organising food, drink, sleeps, making sure they aren't putting a fork into a powerpoint. If you think you can focus on a task for any more than 10 minutes without running the risk of a child damaging something, injuring themselves, etc, you are very mistaken.

        Childcares can take care of multiple kids at once because they are able to do these activities for many children at the same time, hence benefiting from economies of scale.

        • +11


          The most appropriate single word to describe OP.

  • +2

    It's not realistic to work from home with young children in the house, so childcare is still needed.

    Kids need to be seven plus before they could be left to their own devices all day, and even then they are going to either just watch TV for eight hours straight or get bored with that and get into some kind of trouble.

    Younger kids basically need attention continually throughout the whole day. There is no way for example you could do any constructive work with a three year old wandering around the house crying and getting into any naughty thing they can possibly think of to get your attention.

  • Everyone is in a different situation;

    Some people might actually be WORKING from home (ie, don't move away from the desk for 8 hours +) and can't look after young kids at the same time as working (try it yourself)

    Even if the kids are older and home schooling, the quality of the schooling leaves a lot to be desired. If most teachers don't turn up for the online sessions and just set assignments to do without any interaction with the students, then it's down to the parents to make sure they are engaging with the school work, which is extremely difficult if you are also working full time (hence why we have school in the first place).

    Some parents have no other family in Australia. The parents support their kids 365/24/7 and NEVER get a break, especially if they are working at home. Try the pressure of never getting a moments break from your kids or moment's private time with your partner.

    And some people are just lazy

  • -2

    Typical Aussies like to send away family members away so they don't have to take responsilities, like when they put their elders in nursing homes, so they can blame any death on them

    • +2

      Ii didn't realise childcares and nursing homes only existed in Australia…

    • +3

      Oh please do tell me how you would look after an elderly highly demented parent who punches walls, walks in the middle of the road on a daily basis, and urinates/defecates in the lounge room - and also has forgotten how to clean themselves so you have to do it every time. And wanders and screams all night long.

      I'm all ears, go on.

      • -1

        Thats why they should'nt blame the nurse, they need better protection from these scummy families that are likely no better at taking care for themselves.

        I remember someone(maybe in here) wanted to blame a mental facility for there close one taking their own life. Typical scums, blame should be on the family

        • Don't accuse families of abandoning their loved ones to nursing homes when it is often far safer and better for their loved one to be cared for there. It is a heartbreaking decision to make and I really feel for people who have to read your comment.

  • +4

    Is it possible to check and see if SlavOz is the most downvoted user on OZB?

    • +1

      Don't think so.

      This is where someone has listed a couple of invidual comments. I would guess jv would hold most negative votes overall?


      Most negative votes on a comment: Has been awarded to ELH05 with 434 negative votes (and 13 positive votes) for his comment here for justifying holding up the drive-through queue at Maccas to wait for coffee.

      As of 10/08/2021, this record was broken by user nubzy with 575 negative votes (and 80 positive votes) for his comment here stating that the OP had no right to ask for proof of vaccinations.

      • -8

        Jesus this site can be a cesspool.

        Hundreds of downvotes for suggesting some shady guy you met on the internet shouldn't be asking for your personal details and medical records

        Apparently that's unacceptable in Ozbargainland

        • +2

          No one is forcing you to stay.

        • +1

          "suggesting some shady guy you met on the internet shouldn't be asking for your personal details and medical records"

          Not if you want the freebie. The company has every right to ask personal details that's part of the requirements. They didn't force anyone. If you don't like it, don't take it.

          That's like saying:

          • Liquor shop has no right to see my DOB/ID - it's invasion of my privacy
          • Casino can't force me to wear shoes so I can go in
          • Health insurance companies can't refuse to insure me if I don't provide info about pre-existing conditions/medical history
  • +5

    Op, understand your point and from a logical sense I fully appreciate the sentiment. Only thing I can say is you think you know what it's like to have kids but you don't. You can't work well and look after a child properly at the same time. If you have a job where you don't need to perform at that high level the whole time then yeah your point rings more true. But for others it's different. There's a few variables that go into it - age of child, behaviour of child, your type of work, who else might be at home. But trying to get the statistics to determine how many actually need childcare is impossible, so a blanket decision has been made and there'll be winners and losers on all sides of that decision.

  • +1

    Maybe dont tax more (for childcare) and dont offer any benefit.
    With higher take home pay, parents are free to choose what they want to do, based on their circumstances.
    I always believe tax as a wealth distribution tool.
    People may have differing views about whether childcare subsidy is a form of wealth distribution.

    Having said that, agree with others - having 2 kids myself, i find it impossible to WFH properly
    Its OK when kids playing peacefully normally but not when they are grumpy.
    We dont send them to childcare though because missus looks after them =)

  • +5

    What a dick. Another top shelf SlavOz post.

  • +5

    OP doesnt have children

  • +1

    I WFH and use childcare as I am working and unable to give the children the attention they need during working hours, which they otherwise do receive in childcare. The "bargain" may be to use the television of ipad to babysit them, but that would not be in their best interests.

    I am surprised that this question needs to be asked tbh

  • +2

    Is this a troll post? You obviously don't have kids, or don't actually have a job. Can we tax the air you waste?

  • +2

    What an apathetic view. It is clear you don’t have children. Looking after a sick dog that likely sits in the same spot all day is hardly comparable to looking after a young child that needs constant supervision and guidance. Add to the mix a lack of sleep, mental fatigue, food preparation (to list a small few), how exactly do you propose this parent can also be expected to be available for 8-9 hours per day to work?

    Your comments regarding daycare staff is actually laughable. To paraphrase “If you can’t work and look after ONE child, how come daycare staff can manage 40??” lol. Serious? That’s THEIR job. Are they also completing other tasks at work? Managing 15 people remotely, accountable for all their actions?? Writing a scientific report, requiring absolute concentration??? Presenting to a board of directors???? No, they are not. They simple wouldn’t have the time. Why? Because they are looking after children.

    I’m sure this is just clickbait from a lonely guy desperate for attention; based on your recent posts, I’d say that’s likely. But in the off chance it’s not, think before you post. Have some empathy, and realise, everyone’s circumstances are different. You cannot generalise this topic.

  • +1

    It would be pretty damn hard to work and look after a child (1-4) simultaneously with any real result (impossible to a large extent)

    And pretty hard to to with a child in your care of any age I imagine. Will vary greatly between children I guess.

    And I think the people who legislate know this, and thats why they allow it. And probably have a vested intrest in keeping buisness running more efficiently and prefer to tax everyone to pay for it.

    Its actually way more efficient really, unfortunately you have to pay for it.

  • Obviously child care is a rort, it's not needed. Parents can just take their children to work with them. It's not like they suddenly don't have arms or eyes or whatever just because they're at work. Not sure why you're singling out parents working from home, they're doing the exact same job as they'd be doing in the office or wherever. Child care should be illegal.

  • +2

    “I do not have kids”

    There’s your answer

    • +1

      That answer shows he has no direct experience but that answer does not answer his question.

  • +1

    Yes, childcare subsidies to the rich in this country are a disgrace. They should only subsidies families earning less than $100k.

  • yawn

    if most people saw the amount of work, capital, stress, compliance, risk, insurance, angry and unreasonable parents, the odd accident/injured child, ridiculous rostering schedules and a revolving door of workers, and sheer effing will, to open and run a childcare centre - very few will want to do it

    That's why the ones who do, and do it well make a tonne of money - and they are well deserved as well

    Most childcare centres are brimmed to the top with a long waiting list, irrespective of what they charge. Clearly the demand is there

    But I guess its much harder to sit on ozbargain and complain about childcare owners driving Porsche Cayenne's

  • +1

    I know plenty of single Mothers who genuinely need time apart to regroup or to go out for coffee or to just have a rest from their 24/7 but of course the government has many subsidies available for those on the pension, then I see no issue with a little time out plus it gives the child a chance to learn social skills and to interact with others before school starts etc is not up to you or me to decide when or if they need a time out……

  • It should always be funded by gambling and lotto jackpots, and casino taxes, ad revenue from YouTube sponsors and alcohol companies. The kid accumulates the debt until old enough to pay it off.

    Simple really.

  • +4

    I'm not fussed about the tax, society, and all that crap about subsidising childcare with "my" tax money but amazingly I do kinda agree on with small thing he's mentioned along the way and it's showing is the whole elitist parent attitude some people have.

    In my observations most workplaces are actually going the other way with this regard. Less questions asked type of thing like the nature of medical appointments, or taking carers leave whether it's for the kids, nanna, or the pet dog.

    • The entitlement of parents and families compared to those without. Amen.

  • Simple. Family's are a major voting group. Any party that tried to remove subsidies or makes childcare more expensive would commit suicide.

    So its not really a why should you have to pay but a "Good luck getting that changed"

    As for why do people do it? Kids are a full time job. My work pays for my time, context switching kills productivity.

  • +2

    I would also like to clarify that I do NOT have kids, however this doesn't mean I don't have a right to question where my taxes go. Everyone has a right to propose how their own money should be spent.

    You're actually a moron - childcare subsidies are a maximum of ~$10K p.a. As long as the parent who is able to work earns > ~$55K (which almost all do), the amount in taxes collected from them is higher than the amount the federal government pays for childcare.

    In other words, if you scrapped childcare and a whole bunch of people stayed home to look after kids, you would pay more taxes.

    Another way of thinking about it is that it's a tax break for those who are working, since you have to work in order to access childcare. Just think of it as a ~$10K tax deduction for those parents. If you think about it this way, then it's not "your" money.

    • "There is no cap if your family’s combined income is $186,958 or less."


      In other words, it's a subsidy only capped for people at a very high household income. But please, tell me more about your $200k annual salary struggles.

    • it is not your money

      well what about taxpayers with no kids- they dont get a tax break. Also 10k is after tax- so in fact you need to work roughly 15k worth of hours to earn that much….

  • Guess who's getting the award for the most down votes this Uptober? Not me.

  • Not sure if I understand your point - stop the subsidies and let the centres go bust? What happens when we go back to our offices?

  • +6

    As a WFH parent of 3 young children this question makes me:
    Shake my head at the ignorance

  • +1

    You wanna know why childcare is such a good business with Government backing? Ask Peter Dutton. It made his family multimillionaires. Not bad for an ex Queensland cop.

  • if you don’t want to pay while WFH, don’t ….you might loose the place and try to get it back later ….you have a choice. you are paying during WFH to have a place holder for when you go back to work.

    in some areas places are plenty, in some places you are wait listed so if your kid got in you don’t want to,loose tha place or someone else will take it.

    i was financially relieved when my child started school, then the private school fee invoices arrived, again i had a choice, private or gov school.

    if you live in some areas you pay due to shortages, wait lists , and if you loose a place it’s quickly taken by someone else.

    • If childcare subsidies were rolled back (or childcare was investigated via a royal commission into their prices and unfair terms), the wait list probably wouldn't be much of an issue.

      • real estate in the inner city is expensive …..where i live land is $1m for 300m2, the child car centre recently built in my street sits on $2m worth of land ….. drive 10km from me and land is much cheaper …. i don’t think childcare should be subsidized, but i do think gov schools should take kids from a younger age, the local gov school doesn’t have prep, the local private school does, it’s cheaper to run as it’s gov owned land, and teachers are qualified,

        kids are a choice and also how many, i only have one as it’s all i could afford, not sure why child care because you have children which is a life style choice gets a subsidy,

  • I know some parents in the US have one of them stay home to look after the kids, because it's more financially viable.

    Now ask yourself this, which is better for the economy, having a handful of educators look after 20 kids (or whatever the ratio is) while that one person can go add to GDP and be productive, or have that person stay home to look after 2 children and not add anything to GDP in a meaningful way?

    If you think for a second you can look after toddlers while working, then you clearly need an additional job because of all the spare time you have, thus adding more to our GDP figure.

  • Just in time for Christmas: "The SlavOz Guide to Parenting".

    Available at all good bookstores and online retailers.

    • +3

      Definitely a fictional book

      • +3

        Under 'horror'

  • +1

    Child care centres for children, and job agencies for adults what's the difference, both make alot and offer very little to the tax payer.

    All I know is Australia's a sloth country.

  • +3

    WFH means work from home, not look after your kids, not just do whatever you want.

    A lot of people have the wrong mentality when it comes to WFH which is why it is not far more successful than it currently is.

  • +6

    There is nothing wrong with having an opinion on kids when you don't have them, but like any subject it is reasonable for people expect you to at least have a basic understanding of what you're talking about.

    When majority of parents on here are telling you that looking after a kid at home while working would be impossible for them and instead of just accepting this as fact you compare it to looking after your old dog.. Well you just proved that you know absolutely nothing about the subject at hand.

    Also congrats on having the most toxic comment section I've ever seen on OzB, looks like you really bring out the worst in people.

    • -7

      it is reasonable for people expect you to at least have a basic understanding of what you're talking about.

      I have 12 nieces and nephews, 2 with ADHD. I've taken care of them on multiple occasions long-term and I'm close enough with my siblings to understand and witness their struggles first hand.

      That being said, they never used childcare while at home. Sister manages to clock her hours remotely, clean the house, cook dinner, and still entertain 5 kids. I wouldn't call it easy, bit it's certainly possible.

      When majority of parents on here

      Majority of users here would all generally agree on one thing. It's not hard to see that like most online forums, Ozbargain tends to attract a mostly similar crowd, which turns most of it into a uniform bubble where everyone thinks the same.

      I've had this conversation many times in person with different people and had a much more diverse and tolerant response. Not everyone agrees, but many do. Most of it would come down to cultural values, among other things.

      • +3

        I fully agree with the sentiment that you do not need to be a parent to have an opinion on this matter. The answer remains common sense.

        If you have a job which requires your full attention during office hours then I would argue that is, without question, not possible to take care of young children to the extent that the law requires.

        It goes without saying that if you do not actually dedicate yourself to your full time job while WFH then the above does not apply.

        Your example that your sister… "manages to clock her hours remotely, clean the house, cook dinner, and still entertain 5 kids. I wouldn't call it easy, bit it's certainly possible"… entertain is the operative word. You can largely keep kids entertained if you neglect your parenting duties and delegate to video games and television.

        It strikes me that this is not an intellectually valid discussion and exists only to prompt engagement.

      • +2

        Sister manages to clock her hours remotely, clean the house, cook dinner, and still entertain 5 kids.

        She must be the most productive person i have heard of. Please share her secret as obviously most of the parents here are unable or are too lazy to match her productivity.

        Firstly mind I ask the age of the 5 kids, secondly what work does she do and please provide details of her deliverables. I am genuinely curious.

          • +6


            They are disciplined sternly to finish all their school work first otherwise they cop a blasting

            So you're comparing school aged children to those who attend daycare (which was the origin of your crazy ranty post)?

            Clearly school aged children are much more self sufficient and therefore require less attention, making WFH with school aged children much more achievable than those that attend child care.

            • +2

              @SBOB: Also 5 school aged children, probably at least one teenager who can keep an eye on the mostly self sufficient school aged children. People weren't sending their school aged children to childcare while they were working from home.

            • +2


              So you're comparing school aged children to those who attend daycare (which was the origin of your crazy ranty post)?

              Don't you dare bring nuance and logic into your comment!

          • +1

            @SlavOz: So your prime example which is your sister does not work full time and seem to be taking care of 5 kids whose age you fail to disclose.

            You assume that a parent should be able to take care of a child while working from home without the need for childcare. This means the child would have to be in childcare age (1-5). Your example seem to suggest the child are independent enough to be outdoor taking care of themselves.

            Also you did not disclose the type of work or deliverables as part of her 25hours/week work scope. As pointed out to you, certain workscope require undivided attention for several hours. Which means you are unable to attend to a child for block of hours. Can she magically schedule when her kids will cry or when they will fall of their bikes?

            I am in fact from an asian family and have not personally known any one who works full time while raising kids on the side. Kids are usually taken care of by grandparents if childcare cannot be afforded. But this is entirely differnet to taking care of the child while working full time.

            There are literally hundred of responses with examples of why your assumption/hypothesis does not work. An the single example you could share does not even answer or solves the problem that is being presented.

          • +1

            @SlavOz: Can you please ask your sister, how did she manage to take care of her first/second child, when it was just 1 or 2 of them, when they were less than 3 years old. Did she do it all herself?

            Appreciate it if you can give the info. Thanks

      • +1

        Perfect. Childcare workers don't get paid enough, but sounds like they could really do another job at the same time so they can earn two incomes.

    • +2


      The fact that it is about children is moot to a certain extent. Taking care of children is a full time job. He might as well be asking why people with a full time job while WFH are not working 2 or 3 full time jobs simultaneously.

      I suspect that the reaction in the comments is precisely the desired outcome, however.

  • why are WE (the taxpayer) paying for childcare even though it's not currently needed?

    It is currently needed, everything else you wrote is built on a false statement.

    to you either of these is true;
    Work from home = kids don't need to be taken care of, or Work from Home = no work.

    Always these guys are laser focused on the areas where their tax money helps other people but they don't care when its handed to large corporations or party mates/donors.

    • these guys are laser focused on the areas where their tax money helps other people but they don't care when its handed to large corporations 

      LMAO the irony of this when you're defending taxpayer handouts to childcare centres. I can't even…

  • +3

    This has to be the most naive and entitled comment on the internet currently.

    If you ever grow up and have kids you'll understand the abject stupidity of suggesting someone try to with from home with a toddler.

  • +9

    OP, I wish you a happy married life and SIX children. More is ok, but no less.

    While it might seem like I'm blessing you, it's my cunning plan to prevent you from taking one good shit for about 20 years since the birth of your first one.

    You'll look back at this thread and laugh at yourself then. :-)

    PS: I've one kid by the way, and am still hoping to take an uninterrupted shit at some point in the next few years.

    PPS: as someone who has been on both sides, I can tell you affirmatively that you have made several naive assumptions about how easy it is to care for a child. Then again, I can't wait for you to have children so there's no need for anyone to explain it to you.

    • +5

      Or a decent nights sleep amiright

      • Or a decent nights sleep amiright

        What's this sleep you're talking about?

    • -2

      Thank you for your good wishes, even if they're choked in ill intentions.

      • +1

        No ill intentions here. I just want to help you get a proper understanding of what it takes to look after a child (or six in your case).

  • +4

    Oh dang it. Ran out of negs half way down the first page. Bookmarked. Will be back daily with my fresh 5!

    • -7

      Please let me know when you start negging again. I'll be sure to continue not caring.

  • ⚠️ This is something that has been keeping me awake at night. What is everyone’s thoughts on washing hands after going to toilet? Should you wash your hands after #1 or #2 💩💩💩or both? Keen to hear the opinions of fellow OzBargainers.

    How much is everyone spending on childcare on average?

    • Number 1 or number 2 is OK.

      I draw the line where #1 AND #2 happens in one session because hygiene is important to me.

      Lifts up t-shirt and wipes dorito dust off the face with it.

  • +10

    I'm going to ask questions of a community because I don't give a shit about what they think, my opinion is formed and will not be shifted.

    I'll invite your views, shit on them, then whine about being victimised.

    Cool playbook, not something pulled out regularly at all.


    • +1

      Check out his user profile and posts he has made over the years. It gives you a pretty good idea of who we are dealing with here: scrawny, single, 30yr old, patchy facial hair (he made a post about all that!), who likes to start flame wars with his outrageous topics.

      Oh, and he also is quite ignorant, to the point of considering children being like old dogs.

  • +1

    It is very difficult to work from home AND look after kids. No matter how old, it is a challenge.

    I'm working from home and I've sent my kid to child care during the lockdown.

    Additionally, it helps with socialization, its one of the risks for covid babies and kids, that they don't socialize with other kids of similar enough.

    The childcare system in Australia is light years ahead of the US, but I agree, it should be improved. The costs are pretty high.

  • Interesting article about why childcare subsidies are unfair


    I'm not pro or against

  • Childcare shouldn't be subsidized.

    • +1


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