Do you take care of your grandchildren at the weekend? How about picking them up after school, packing their lunches, and entertaining them for hours on end? Taking on the task of helping out with the grandkids is something many of us are happy to do, whether it’s out of love or because we believe that’s how families should work. For many grandparents though, they say it’s time to cough up the cash and pay them for all their hard work.
A new survey has revealed nearly 40 per cent of grandparents believe they should be paid for taking care of their grandchildren. Grandparents are often (lovingly) used as a replacement for expensive childcare centres, which tend to have lengthly waiting list and exorbitant fees. Having grandparents around to help lighten the load and the financial burden is a vital component in many Australian families.
While we’re more than happy to help our families and spend quality time with our grandchildren, some people are asking: isn’t it only fair we receive compensation for all the time and money we spend on our grandkids?
That’s not to say these grandparents resent looking after their grandchildren. Nearly all of those surveyed said they do it for the love of their family – they just believe they should be paid for doing the job.
On average, Australian grandparents look after their grandkids for 16 hours per week. This is equivalent to a part-time job and involves a significant amount of financial pressure and personal sacrifice. Around 75 per cent of grandparents live close to their children so they can help look after them; 42 per cent make travel and holiday sacrifices; and 30 per cent have changed their work arrangements to suit their grandchildren’s needs.
With all of these sacrifices being made, should we be paying our hard-working grandparents for all their time and effort? For some grandparents it’s already become too much, with one in four saying they wish they didn’t have to provide so much care. For many, the issue is that they’ve spent most of their lives working and were looking forward to a break when they retired. With numerous grandkids though, retirement is less relaxing and more like over-active baby-sitting.
Any suggestion the government should foot the bill for compensating grandparents has already been rebuffed by an unimpressed Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison who said: “For those who are doing the normal thing like my parents do and a lot of peoples’ parents do then, no, the government isn’t considering that.”
The survey did not address where the money should come from, so we have to wonder: should the government compensate grandparents or is it the grandkids’ parents responsibility to cough up the money?
Tell us what you think about this issue.