Grandparents taken for granted in childcare

Grandparents are failing to receive proper recognition for their major role in childcare, claims a new report.

The UK is lagging behind other EU countries when it comes to rewarding grandparents, says the survey by Grandparents Plus.

Other European states offer financial recognition such as transferable parental leave and paid leave to grandparents who help out with childcare provision.

Although grandparents will be eligible for National Insurance credits next year, seven out of 10 said they should be paid through tax credits or childcare vouchers.

The study – produced in partnership with the Beth Johnson Foundation and the Institute of Gerontology at King’s College London  – claims one in three mothers in Britain rely on grandparents to provide childcare.

It’s estimated grandparents save the UK economy £3.9bn in childcare bills.

Sam Smethers, chief executive of Grandparents Plus, said:  ”National Insurance credits from April next year will certainly help to protect their (grandparents’) pension entitlement, but this won’t help them now.

”We have to match it with steps towards transferable parental leave and flexible working if we really want to make it easier for them to combine work and care.”

More than half of grandparents (53%) between the ages of 45 and 54 surveyed by the poll thought they should be given time off work when a grandchild is born.

Nearly half of all grandparents who help to look after grandchildren said they would like to have flexible working.

Dr Karen Glaser, who helped to write the report, said: ”There are more women in employment and grandparents are absolutely instrumental in terms of childcare.”

She said the increase in divorce and one-parent families made the role of grandparents ‘absolutely crusial, especially at times of family crisis’.

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