Childcare and its Implications on Extended Family
It’s no surprise that many parents seek help from their relatives or close friends when it comes to childcare. There are those who are lucky enough to live in close proximity to their family and or are in fortunate positions to ask for help - but there are also those who aren’t. The APPG carried out a survey of women returning to the workplace and found that 56% respondents stayed out of work to care for their child and reduce childcare costs. Shockingly, 18% were made redundant whilst on parental leave.
A large majority of people can’t ask for help due to conflicting relationships with their family, or distance. It is a common assumption that there are always family and friends that can help. Unfortunately, this is a privilege that many people do not have. This is why the government musn’t rely on grandparents and friends to help with childcare. There are many government incentives like National Insurance Credit that reward and financially support the elderly for providing childcare. However this is insufficient. We need a childcare infrastructure disassociated from income that allows the elderly to work as employed childcarers. These grandparents are contributing to society just as much as someone in a paid job and should therefore be entitled to the same protection for their state pension as if they were in work.
If childcare was more accessible and affordable then many parents could unburden their relatives of this expectation/duty. In turn families can contribute to the UK’s economic growth. This would also encourage many to go back to work and begin doing things they love - even during retirement. Economic research commissioned by Vodafone from KPMG indicates the potential economic benefits associated with bringing back into the workplace all women on a career break with experience at middle manager-level and above, could be in the region of £151 billion per year.
The point is, childcare is no one’s responsibility other than parents and the government. However, without the government’s help then many people turn to different resources. Those who are unable to ask their mother, father or friend for help have no other choice but to stay out of employment and care for their children. Jill Rutter from Childcare Trust says “It is beyond the reach of many families, which is why parents are reaching out to grandparents in a bid to make childcare more affordable.”
Like public transport, childcare should be accessible to all. And although grandparents are helping now more than ever - we must consider those who have no other options. It’s a last resort for many, due to the financial strain they’d otherwise experience if they were to rely on the current childcare system. Currently 56% of parents have reported that raising a family is getting more difficult.
For more information please contact us at @ChildcareLevyUK