How 2million grandparents are sacrificing work to help with childcare: One in seven has quit or changed hours

July 8, 2014 12:19 pm 0 comments Views: 118

  • Survey found grandparents giving up on own careers to help their children
  • Three out of four who have made cutbacks to working life are grandmothers
  • Results will intensify debate on government help for working mothers


Nearly two million grandparents have sacrificed their own jobs to look after their grandchildren, a study  said yesterday.


It found that one in seven of all grandparents have given up their job, cut their working hours, or taken holiday or sick leave to take over childcare from their own children.

The findings of the survey – carried out for three organisations – are likely to intensify the growing debate over how to help working mothers.

Pressure groups have been calling for greater childcare subsidies, while supporters of stay-at-home parenting want transferable tax allowances to help married couples afford to look after their own children.

According to the report, more than 400,000 grandparents have reduced the amount they are putting into their pensions to provide more money for their grandchildren.

The findings of the survey of more than 2,000 Britons – carried out by Ipsos Mori for  Grandparents Plus, Save the Children and The Family and Childcare Trust – suggest that 1.9million grandparents have cut back on their own working lives for the sake of their grandchildren.

And three out of four of those who scale down their working lives are grandmothers, which means that many older women are giving up careers to allow younger women to pursue theirs.

Four out of ten grandparents who look after grandchildren – 2.3million people – said they do so to allow their children to go to work.

Only 17 per cent, fewer than a  million, say they do so because their children cannot afford childcare.

Around one in eight said they spend more than £1,000 a year on their grandchildren, and nearly one in three said they give more than £500.

A further one in eight grandparents said they felt under pressure to give financial support.

It is estimated that grandparents are providing total support worth £8billion a year.

The grandparents who provide the most time are also the ones who give most in cash.

More than a quarter of those who spend ten hours a week looking after children also gave more than £1,000 to support them last year.

The survey will intensify the debate over providing more help to working mothers in the from of childcare subsidies or transferable tax allowances

The survey will intensify the debate over providing more help to working mothers in the from of childcare subsidies or transferable tax allowances

Few grandparents expect anything back, the report said.

Sam Smethers, of Grandparents Plus, said: ‘This is generation generosity. In addition to the care they provide, grandparents are making huge financial contributions to support their grandchildren.

‘It suggests we need to re-think working requirements for the ageing population, who are being expected to work longer and care more for grandchildren.’

But many of today’s families should not expect a generous inheritance from their parents, says another survey.

As many as one in four parents intend to leave just a percentage of their estate to their offspring when they die, or even none.

Many said their children have already benefited from help in buying a home, paying off debts or getting through university.

Andrew Barker, of Skipton Financial Services, which commissioned the research, said: ‘Traditionally, your financial wealth and assets would be inherited by your children.

‘But it seems this is becoming a thing of the past as people want to use the would-be inheritance fund to enjoy their own retirement, or even because they feel their children have already had their fair share.’

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