Childcare - The Value of Unpaid Child Care

The Value of Unpaid Child Care

Parents and mothers especially spend a significant amount of time raising their children. These mothers nurture and develop their children into being functional members of society- hard work that is not motivated by monetary gain. For centuries it has been assumed that women will stay home and take care of the children while their husbands go out and work. In most cases, the husbands get all the credit for providing for the family. However, their homemaker wives deserve just as much credit for their care work. Caregivers do not receive monetary compensation and they must pay a ‘care-penalty.’

A care-penalty is the price one pays for doing care work for a family member. Care giving demands a lot out of an individual, and as a result there is a high opportunity cost. The opportunity cost can relate to both time and money. Instead of taking care of a family member, a caregiver could spend time working or performing more leisure activities. Care penalties are not strictly related to childcare- they can also refer to taking care of a sick family member, babysitting a younger sibling, or taking an elderly family member to his/her doctor’s appointments.

Studies have been done to get an annual salary estimate for a female caregiver. One reputable survey suggested that the value of a female caregiver’s work would be $117,867 per year. The reason for the high salary is because mothers typically perform about 10 different job functions throughout the week. These job functions can include: cooking, cleaning, driving, and laundry among other duties. A nanny wouldn’t make nearly as much money, but they would be putting in fewer hours and performing fewer duties.

It is important to assess the value of caregivers because they are what truly make society function, and often their work is under-appreciated. They prepare the next generation for school, work, and decision-making. A child’s entire future largely depends on how he/she was nurtured. Not only does the child depend on this care, but the schools and employers also depend on the childcare. The government also benefits because these children will eventually become taxpayers, congressmen, and voters. Eventually, they will be the ones running the country. The value of unpaid childcare is also an important figure in various legal entities. Expert witnesses (most often economists) are occasionally brought into court cases to give estimates on the value of unpaid labor. By giving estimation, the plaintiff or defendant can be fairly compensated for their labor.

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Famous quotes containing the words care, unpaid and/or child:

    If you strike a child, take care that you strike it in anger, even at the risk of maiming it for life. A blow in cold blood neither can nor should be forgiven.
    George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950)

    The compensations of calamity are made apparent to the understanding also, after long intervals of time. A fever, a mutilation, a cruel disappointment, a loss of wealth, a loss of friends, seems at the moment unpaid loss, and unpayable. But the sure years reveal the deep remedial force that underlies all facts.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)

    We must choose. Be a child of the past with all its crudities and imperfections, its failures and defeats, or a child of the future, the future of symmetry and ultimate success.
    Frances E. Willard 1839–1898, U.S. president of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union 1879-1891, author, activist. The Woman’s Magazine, pp. 137-40 (January 1887)