Published Tuesday, 04 March 2014
The average family is facing mounting childcare costs. (© Getty)
Figures, produced by Employers for Childcare, show that the average family with one child in a full-time place can pay around £158 for care.
That means that a family with two children in full-time childcare can pay a staggering £16,432 per year.
Marie Marin, from charity Employers for Childcare said the figure was not surprising and families were having to balance childcare costs against those of returning to work.
She added: "Lots of people are coming to us for assistance like those already in work and perhaps trying to increase their hours, or people who are on the brink of going back to work after having had children.
"They're trying to work out whether or not it's actually affordable for them to go back to work.
"We carry out what's called better off calculations which fit with individuals and help them work out their family finances in relation to childcare."
She added: "Mothers in particular find themselves in what's called a pay neutral situation when they go back into work.
"They're just working to pay the childcare costs and to retain work to keep their careers on track.
"Single parents find it particularly difficult as well, but there is a lot of help available.
Marie said families are becoming more reliant on grandparents for their childcare provision.
"I think it's good if families are able to make those arrangements but not everyone is able to do that. They don't have that fortune," she continued.
"I think it is a very serious situation for the Northern Ireland economy.
"There are two forms of financial help available with the cost of childcare, neither of which come from the Northern Ireland block grant so any increase in either childcare vouchers or tax credits can be good for the economy."
© UTV News