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4. Suitable childcare arrangements are regarded as essential to enable returning to work and were noted by Caroline Fox of the Athena project (p20) as the greatest priority for women making this transition. It is now a matter of some urgency that the proposed Strategic Review of Early Childhood Education Centres should proceed and address matters such as opening hours, childcare facilities at Tamaki and longerterm plans for childcare centres. In the meantime, the issues raised by participants relating to expenses could be ameliorated if it were possible to deduct childcare fees before taxation. The feasibility of this may depend on whether or not it would attract fringe-benefit tax. We note that this measure has recently been proposed by Westpac (New Zealand) as one of its steps to improve childcare provision in order to retain staff in major centres.5 Recommendations 4. a That the Strategic Review of Early Childhood Education Centres be progressed to attend to the childcare issues raised in this (and former) projects. It would be expected that the review would cover the following matters: ƒ Opening and closing hours’ taking into account lecture times; ƒ Expenses; ƒ Capacity, including long-term, for student/staff needs; ƒ Age at which babies are accepted into childcare; and ƒ Provision of facilities at Tamaki. 4. b That the feasibility of deducting childcare fees from parents’ and caregivers’ salaries before tax be explored. 4. c That the University childcare centres explore the uptake of the Government 20 hours of free care for three and four year olds on the proviso that such uptake does not disadvantage other users of the childcare centre. 5. Parking problems were frequently mentioned as a barrier to returning to work. Between the beginning of this project and its completion, parking facilities changed significantly at The University of Auckland. The opening of a new parking building has meant long waiting lists for parking permits have been dispensed with, but this has been accompanied by an increase in fees. The ability to reduce fees may be beyond the scope of this project but, if designated parking spaces for parents and caregivers with children in University Childcare centres were made available 9 am- 3 pm, it would avoid the problem of staff finding no spaces left after they have dropped their children off. Recommendations 5. a That selected parking spaces in the most convenient locations be reserved for parents with children in childcare centres 9 am-3 pm. 5. b

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That consideration be given to allocating a selected parking space in the most convenient location for women in the last three months of pregnancy. This may be through more flexible use of the parking permits available for staff with family responsibilities or through temporarily reserved spaces.

Keeping up with the children, Donna McIntyre, January 24 2007 ppH3, NZ Herald.

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Women Returning to Work  

a joint project by the University of Auckland and the Association of University Staff analysing women’s experiences returning to work after...

Women Returning to Work  

a joint project by the University of Auckland and the Association of University Staff analysing women’s experiences returning to work after...

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