60,000 grandparents forced to resign to mind grandchildren
Filed under: Career
The effects can be devastating.
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Taking on careThe charity found that 9,000 grandparents are sacrificing their income and their career every year to take care of grandchildren when their family falls into difficulties. That works out at 25 every day. Often this represents the last option open to them before social services step in and remove the children into care.
By taking on caring responsibilities, they receive no special help from the government. Unlike new parents or those adopting - who are entitled to special leave - these individuals have to rely on having an understanding employer.
54% of these carers who were working when children moved in felt their employers were
supportive, but almost 1 in 5 did not tell their employer what had happened to their
family. Others were pressured by social workers to give up work or see the child taken in
Some 83% would like to stay in work, but most are forced to give it all up. Some turn to their savings to survive, but 41% are then entirely reliant on welfare benefits.
Life in povertyGrandparents Plus found that half of grandparents were having to give up work to care for children when their grandchild moved in, and that 86% of those who stop working to care for grandchildren are below retirement age.
They add that once the crisis has passed - or the child has reached an age where working becomes more feasible - grandparents often struggle to find work because they are considered too old. Only 13% subsequently find work again.
Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of Grandparents Plus, says: "It makes absolutely no sense for the carer or for the taxpayer for them to give up work unnecessarily and be forced into a lifetime on benefits as a result.
"We want to see access to unpaid parental leave, and the introduction of a period of paid leave for grandparents and family carers, similar to maternity, paternity or adoption leave, when they take on responsibility for bringing up a child.
"We also want the government to deliver on their promise of flexibility in the workplace for all employees. This will help carers stay in work."