Published Wednesday, 04 December 2013
A total of 4,396 parents responded to The Northern Ireland Childcare Cost Survey 2013.
It found that 63% working parents struggled at some point last year, 78% of single parents found themselves under financial pressure, while 62% of two-parent families had difficulties.
Respondents reported that on average, 44% of their net weekly earnings are allocated to childcare costs.
For families with two children in full-time childcare the annual overall cost can amount to £16,432 on average.
The cost of a full-time place for a child has increased to £158 per week.
While the majority of parents stated their formal childcare service was not flexible, 97% said they were happy with the quality of care provided.
Most parents also reported using additional forms of childcare on top of their main provider, with 45.4% of this care being provided by grandparents.
Parents resorted to using grandparents to keep costs down but also because of lack of flexibility from formal providers.
The main findings this year, that are different and weren't actually noted before by parents is they're having to use credit cards before the end of the month just to get by.
Marie Marin, Employers for Childcare
Katy Fulton and her husband both work and their biggest monthly outgoing is spent on childcare.
"A substantial part of my salary each month, goes towards childcare. It's a cost that before we had the children was going towards holidays, was going towards luxuries which just aren't there anymore and there are months where you're borrowing from Peter to pay Paul to make sure everything is balanced," she said.
She relies on her parents to help out, but she admits that they are "stuck" paying out as they cannot afford to downsize or cut their working hours.
Almost half of the parents surveyed said they have reduced their working hours, or ever considered leaving work all together because of the cost of childcare.
Marie Marin, CEO of Employers for Childcare commented: "Domestic costs such as food and heating, which are essentials, are being sacrificed in order to pay for childcare."
Ms Marin said that parents should make sure they avail of support and make the most of working tax credits and childcare vouchers to help keep costs down.
© UTV News