Numerous studies in the US have looked to put a price tag on the duties of a stay-at-home parent, with economists attaching a median annual salary to the numerous jobs performed in the role.
According to the latest data from Insure.com , stay-at-home parents should earn as much as $126,725 (around R2 million) in 2022, for the many tasks they perform daily. Salary.com put the figure at $184,820 (R2.86 million).
Parents wear a lot of hats – more than 20 – according to Salary.com. These jobs include chief financial officer, chief operating officer, van driver, teacher, nurse, and many more.
“However, if you were to approach calculating how much a stay-at-home (parent) is worth like an economist, the amount you’d get would be nowhere close to those two figures,” said GoBankingRates. “Of course, you can’t truly put a number on the invaluable love and nurturing a (parent) provides.”
According to economists, you can use Labour Department data to determine an approximate market value.
Dr Brian Strow, dean of the Rinker School of Business at Palm Beach Atlantic University said that the first step to calculating how much a ‘stay-at-home parent’ should make depends on how they spend their day.
According to the US Labour Department’s American Time Use Survey (ATUS), married parents who are not employed and are in a household with a minor child could spend on average 6.17 hours daily on child care and household-related tasks.
House-related tasks include the following:
- Caring for and helping household children: 2.56 hours
- Housework: 1.56 hours
- Food preparation and cleanup: 1.6 hours
- Travel related to caring for and helping household children: 0.32 hours
- Lawn and garden care: 0.13 hours
“The next step is to figure out how much the activities a stay-at-home (parent) does are worth, by multiplying the number of hours spent on each activity by the hourly wage someone in that type of industry earns,” said Strow.
Strow added that to effectively determine the pay of a stay-at-home parent, the real value of their labour is what is done on top of the average part-time of a full-time working parent.
“In other words, all (parents) have to do some level of childcare and housework regardless of whether they also work outside of the home.”
Total value of a stay-at-home parent
“On average, they spend almost twice as many hours caring for children and doing household work as working parents. From an accounting standpoint, the total stay-at-home (parent) would earn annually based on the wages of workers in jobs similar to the daily tasks they perform would be $37,233.65 (R580,000),” said GoBankingRates.
However, in the eyes of an economist, it’s that extra value provided by stay-at-home parents — the 2.98 more hours they spend a day on childcare and household work than working parents — that determines their market value.
When you isolate that additional time, economists would value a stay-at-home parent’s work at $17,983.55 (R280,000) a year.
Daycare in South Africa
According to Payscale, the average hourly rate of a childcare or daycare employee in South Africa is R18.45, with workers with upwards of five years of experience earning R24.49 per hour.
A parent could earn around R50 (R47.23) for the 2.56 hours daily as a childcare worker.
According to the ATUS, a parent on average would spend 1.35 hours caring for their children even if they had a job, said GoBankingRates.
Being a stay-at-home parent, therefore, equates to an extra 1.21 hours – meaning R22.32 per day.
Over a month, a stay-at-home parent conducting the service of a childcare worker would receive roughly R679.19 a month (approximately 30.43 days in a month) and R8,150 annually.
Earlier this year, the minister of employment and labour published the new minimum wage for domestic workers in South Africa. The new wage came into effect on 1 March 2022 and is now R23.19 per hour.
According to GoBanking Rates, working parents spend roughly half as much time – 0.74 hours – on housework as stay-at-home parents. The real value that stay-at-home parents provide is an extra 0.82 hours of housework daily.
In South Africa, doing the work of the average domestic worker would earn R36.17 a day, R1,100 a month and R13,210 annually, granted that housework is performed every day.
Food preparation and cleanup
Married parents with full-time jobs spend 0.8 hours a day, on average, preparing meals and cleaning up afterwards. Because an economist would consider this the de facto amount of time parents spend cooking, the benefit stay-at-home parents provide is an extra 0.8 hours making food for their families, said Strow.
Based on 158 salary profiles, Payscale details that the average kitchen chef in South Africa earns R23.12 an hour.
For food preparation and cleanup, the average South African stay-at-home parent could earn roughly R18.49 a day, R562.83 a month and R6,753 a year.
Travel related to household care
In South Africa there are roughly 199 schools days for public schools. Private or international school calendars vary.
The average stay-at-home parent could do an average 199 trips a year – lasting around 32 minutes each trip. GoBankingRates said that the real value provided by a stay-at-home parent is only 0.08 hours of transportation.
Talent.com shows that the average driver in South Africa earns an hourly rate of R117. Therefore a stay-at-home mother would earn R9.36 each day and R1,862 annually.
Lawn and garden care
Payscale data shows that the average landscape gardener in South Africa earns an average of R20.67 an hour. GoBankingRates’s economists noted that stay-at-home parents clocked up 0.07 hours of garden work per day, worth R1.44 a day and R528.12 annually.
“There’s no doubt that stay-at-home (parents) add value to their households. On average, they spend almost twice as many hours caring for children and doing household work as working (parents).
From an economist’s standpoint, the total stay-at-home parents would earn annually based on the wages of workers in jobs similar to the daily tasks they perform would be roughly R30,503 per year, equating to a monthly salary of R2,541.
“But let’s face it: The true value of everything (parents) do, whether they work at an official job or not, is priceless,” said GoBankingRates.