Only 19% of companies provide some form of assistance with childcare for children below mandatory school age in the host country, according to a recent report by ECA. Costs also vary considerably around the world.
Varied costs globally
The Benefits for International Assignments Survey also revealed just 7% of Asian organisations, compared to 32% of European organisations, provide some form of assistance with childcare. Out of all of those companies that do cover nursery fees, only 9% also covered other childcare providers (such as nannies and childminders).
Most expensive nursery fees
The US has the most expensive nursery fees with an average annual cost of US$35,431 with Switzerland, the UK, Netherlands and Australia making up the rest of the ‘top 5’. All have a high GDP per capita and a culture where it is commonplace to have dual career households, creating high demand for nurseries from expatriates and locals alike. However, nursery fees in Russia are also expensive but that’s due to a lack of supply (nurseries are not common).
The other end of the spectrum
Meanwhile, Sweden has the cheapest nursery costs with an average annual fee of just US$1,829 thanks to very generous childcare subsidies. Other western countries, such as Norway, Austria, Finland and France, also offer generous childcare subsidies. Last year, the city of Berlin even abolished fees for all municipal daycare centres (on the flipside, families may have to wait up to one year for a place).
Nurseries vs childcare providers
Elsewhere, in Hong Kong nannies are readily available and are typically cheaper than nurseries. In China, Turkey and South Korea nurseries typically do not accept infants and often follow an academic calendar, and are not open throughout the year. All in all, expats need to be aware of the costs, availability and culture of childcare. The survey also gives sufficient evidence for ECA to argue that companies should be more flexible in their definition of childcare as currently only a small percentage of companies cover the cost of childcare providers outside formal nurseries.