Millions of mothers would quit work without grandparents' help

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A poll of 1,000 parents by Grandparents Plus has found that one in four parents would give up work without help from grandparents with childcare.

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The poll of parents revealed one in four mothers would give up work without childcare help from grandparents

If this figure were applied to the total number of working mothers in the UK  - 4.6 million - this would equate to more than one million leaving the labour market, says the charity.

The poll, carried out by Survation, also found that 38 per cent would cut their working hours without help with childcare from grandparents. When scaled up to represent all working mothers in the UK, this is the equivalent of 1.7 million women.

Of those who were surveyed, 93 per cent receive some kind of help with childcare and over half will rely on grandparents over the summer holidays. Just 7 per cent said they didn't receieve any help with childcare from grandparents.

Other findings from the poll include:

  • parents are more likely to rely on grandparents (54 per cent) than paid childcare (42 per cent) over the upcoming summer holidays;
  • if their partner was not able to care for their children, 58 per cent of parents would want a grandparent to step in.

Grandparents Plus is now calling for more recognition of the role grandparents play in supporting families, as well as an entitlement for grandparents to request unpaid leave to help out with childcare. Almost two thirds (62 per cent) of those who took part in the poll supported the possibility of grandparents being able to request unpaid leave.

Lucy Peake, chief executive of Grandparents Plus, said, ‘The summer holidays can be a really tricky time for working parents, and this poll shows just how reliant we are on grandparents stepping up to look after the children.  It also shows how crucial they are to keeping women in the labour market, especially with childcare costs rising.

‘What we can’t afford to do is take them for granted, and recognising how reliant we are on them is the first step to making sure that doesn’t happen. With rising retirement ages, we have to be realistic that many grandparents will still be working, so supporting them to juggle both work and childcare is going to be absolutely key.’

The poll was funded by money raised through the People's Postcode Lottery.

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