Two in five (42%) grandparents will be relied upon to provide childcare during the upcoming school holidays, according to new research by Lloyds Bank.
Part of the ‘How Britain Lives’ study, the UK-wide analysis conducted in partnership with YouGov found that 61% of working parents regularly rely on childcare support from nurseries, childminders and family or friends throughout the year, and this summer an estimated 5 million grandparents will be called on to help.
The savings for parents are likely to be significant. The poll found that UK families spend an average of £350 per month on childcare. That means, based on the UK’s average salary, parents are forking out 20% of their monthly disposable income to cover childcare costs, a figure likely to be even greater during the school holiday months. Of the grandparents who provide childcare support, one in four (26%) say that on top of caring for the little ones, they also cover the costs of keeping them entertained with activities, and another seven in 10 (70%) buy their grandchildren regular treats while looking after them.
It isn’t just the school holidays when families turn to grandparents for help, with around a third relied upon at other times in the year for the school and nursery runs (34%), providing before and after school care (32%) and helping out on the weekends (36%). On average, grandparents report spending eight hours a week caring for their grandchildren. Based on the average salary of a childcare worker at almost £8, that means grandparents are giving the equivalent of £3,200 worth of childcare throughout the year.
Despite the graft, two thirds (63%) of grandparents said they were asked to help and were happy to do it. A third (33%) said they proactively offered their support. Seven in 10 (71%) of the grandparents polled say helping means they get to spend more time with their grandchildren than they did with their own grandparents.
Grandparents might be missing out on a £250 a year benefit for looking after their grandchildren, but very few people are aware that it exists.
These are known as “specified adult childcare credits” and they count as a national insurance credit for those who don’t otherwise work.
The reason this is important, is because you need at least 10 years’ worth of credits to qualify for the state pension, and at least 35 years’ to get the full £8,767.20 a year.
So miss out on just a year’s credit, and pension experts at financial provider Royal London say that you’re losing out on £250.
And that could rise to a whopping £5,000 over a typical 20-year retirement.
They may be eligible to receive £250 pension credit annually, but currently only around 10,000 – up from just 1,298 a few years ago. Check the government website to see if your eligible for adult child care credits.