More than 8 in 10 people underestimate the value of stay-at-home parents

Average stay-at-home parent’s salary valued less than €28,000 – but figures suggest real-world value could be closer to €47,000


Published  25 August 2019
   5 min read

More than 8 in 10 people in Ireland underestimate the monetary value of a stay-at-home parent, believing it to be approximately €28,000 per year. This is one of the primary findings of a recent survey from protection specialist Royal London, which was carried out by iReach in January 2020. The nationwide survey asked 1,000 people how much, they believe, it would cost to employ someone to perform the duties of a stay-at-home parent and compared the results to pay-scale data which suggest the figure could be over €47,000.

The 2016 census found that there were approximately 454,700 people in Ireland whose principal status was looking after the home or family*. Of these, 98% were women, although the number of men in this role nearly doubled in the 10 years up to 2016, rising from 4,900 to 9,200*.

Speaking of the survey findings, Sara Murphy, Marketing Lead at Royal London said,

“We’ve asked this same question to survey respondents for a number of years now and, invariably, people have always estimated a value that is well below what we have calculated based on real-world wage data. This year, the question was put to respondents before the country went into lockdown, and before thousands of parents became stay-at-home mams and dads as a result – often while trying to juggle the responsibilities of another job as well. It would be interesting to see, if we ask the same question next year, if the results are very different as a result.”


The Royal London Stay-at-home Parent Survey

Q: Studies have estimated the potential “salary” of the stay-at-home parent. How much do you believe it would cost to employ someone to perform the duties of a stay-at-home parent?

  All Adults Male Female 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+ Dublin Rest of Leinster Munster Connacht /Ulster
Sample Size 1000 489 511 110 185 209 175 321 303 208 301 188
Less than €10k 8% 10% 6% 19% 8% 9% 4% 5% 10% 6% 9% 3%
€10k - €20k 27% 31% 22% 15% 35% 24% 25% 28% 26% 19% 28% 35%
€20k - €30k 30% 29% 32% 39% 25% 28% 34% 30% 28% 34% 37% 21%
€30k - €40k 19% 18% 21% 23 % 16% 20% 21% 19% 20% 23% 17% 19%
€40k - €50k 9% 8% 10% 2% 9% 12% 10% 10% 9% 12% 6% 11%
More than €50k 6% 3% 10% 2% 5% 7% 8% 7% 7% 6% 4% 9%


The mean cost of employing a stay-at-home parent was estimated as €28,000. Other findings from the survey include:

  • Women, on average, estimated the value to be €4,000 higher than their male counterparts’ estimations (€29,000 vs €25,000).
  • Those in Connacht estimated the highest value (€30,000), followed by Dublin (€29,000), the rest of Leinster (€29,000), and Ulster (€27,000). Respondents in Munster estimated the lowest value for the role (€26,000).


The Costs

Royal London researched the average value of the jobs stay-at-home parents do for the family and in the home, including duties such as cooking, cleaning and driving children to their various activities. The calculations reveal that the cost to employ someone to do the household jobs normally done by a stay-at-home parent would be an estimated €47,933.

On the calculated remuneration for a stay-at-home parent, Ms Murphy commented,

“The average expected salary of €28,000 as seen in the survey results is significantly lower than the €47,933 we estimate as the economic cost of a stay-at-home parent in 2020. This is lower again than the €48,946 reported by the Central Statistics Office** as the average earnings of a person in full time employment during 2019.”

Job Average cost per hour (€) Estimated hours per week Total €
Childcare Provider 11.23 30 336.90
Cleaner 10.28 8 82.24
General Cook 11.50 15 172.50
Teaching Assistant 12.75 5 63.75
Handyman/woman 15.10 4 60.40
Gardener 14.00 1 14.00
Taxi Driver (Estimated average fare) €19.20† (Estimate number of trips) 10 192.00
Total cost per week     921.79
Total cost per year (52 weeks)     47,933.08

Stats courtesy of Payscale published on 11/08/2020 except † which depicts the average 2018 taxi fare in 2018 according to Lynk Taxi.


Ms. Murphy concluded,

“Whether you are a stay-at-home parent yourself or your partner is, it’s worth being aware of this issue from a family finance perspective, if nothing else. It’s commonplace for the main earner in a household to think about financial safeguards in the event of a loss of income and our research shows that precautions are also worth considering for stay-at-home parents.

“The huge array of jobs that a homemaker undertakes on a daily basis can sometimes be taken for granted. However, if something were to happen which stopped them from being able to carry out this vital role, or if they were to pass away unexpectedly, families could be left with a large financial gap to fill during what would already be a very difficult time. When this is considered, there’s a clear benefit of having some life or serious illness cover in place to help provide a financial safety net. Your Financial Broker can help you get an understanding of the level of financial protection you might need.”



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About Royal London Ireland

Royal London Ireland has a history of protecting its policyholders and their families in Ireland, and recently launched a new Pensions business in Ireland. Our business heritage in Ireland is nearly 200 years. The Caledonian Insurance Company's first office outside Edinburgh opened on Dame Street, Dublin 2 in 1824.

Today, Royal London Ireland is owned by The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited – the largest mutual life insurance, pensions, and investment company in the UK, and in the top 25 mutuals globally, with assets under management of €178 billion, 8.6 million policies in force, and 4,100 employees. Figures quoted are as at 30 June 2023.

Royal London Ireland’s office is based at 47-49 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.