When grandparenting becomes work, should you be paid for it?

With the ever increasing amount of parents turning to their own parents to take on the role of carer for their children when they return to the workforce, there has been talk of the Abbott government adopting a new plan that would see grandparents paid in a similar way to a daycare centre.

To be eligible for the funding they would need to hold the same qualifications as those working in a registered day care centre, such as Certificate 3 in Early Childcare Education and then, according to a report from the Productivity Commission, parents would be able to direct their government benefits to go to their choice of provider, namely their own parents.

Daycare centres are expensive, and in some areas getting a child enrolled into one can be a challenge in itself with waiting lists years long, so many new parents are looking to their own parents for assistance.

At the current time almost a million children in Australia are receiving regular care from their grandparents while their own parents work full time hours. For the parents, this is a better alternative to day care centres, which can see almost their entire pay checks eaten up in fees.

Many grandparents love taking on this role, even if it means giving up their regular lives or chosen careers, building strong lifetime relationships with their grandchildren as their own children return to work feeling completely confident that their babies are getting the best of care.

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It has also been suggested that as well as the children benefiting from this arrangement, the grandparents can also get some added health benefits with a recent study from the University of Melbourne indicating that post-menopausal women had a better memory and cognitive speed, which could ward off certain ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

In the 2015 Budget the government has pledged more support in regard to childcare options with the aim of making it ‘simpler, more affordable, accessible and flexible’.

The Productivity Commission states that there are more than 165,000 parents looking to either work, or work longer hours, but are unable to do so due to the unavailability of affordable quality day care, something that would be cancelled out if grandparent care became a viable option.

However at this point, there is no indication that the Abbott Government has taken much of the Productivity Commission’s report into consideration.

What do you think? Do you currently care for your grandchildren? Should grandparents get paid benefits for caring for the grandchildren?