Aussie grandparents want payment to care for grandchildren

Canberra, Feb 3 (IANS) Around 40 percent of Australian grandparents believe they should be reimbursed for looking after their grandchildren, SAID a new survey.

The research study, released on Wednesday by the Australian Seniors Insurance Agency (ASIA), asked the nation’s grandparents if they should receive payment — either from their child (the parent) or the government — and almost two-fifths (37 percent) agreed.

Australian grandparents, on average, care for their grandchildren for 16 hours a week, and most do nOt receive — or even ask for — a cent for their troubles.

ASIA spokesperson Simon Hovell said the figure of 37 percent was probably underselling the number of grandparents who felt some form of compensation was fair.

“There is a stigma around asking for money,” Hovell told Fairfax Media on Wednesday.

“It’s reasonable to assume that there is a percentage of grandparents who would like to be paid, but feel uncomfortable asking for it.”

The survey, which involved more than 1,000 participants, also asked grandparents about other sacrifices they had to make as their children could not afford paid childcare.

In order to care for their grandchildren, 75 percent of grandparents lived closer to their own kids, 58 percent forwent recreational activities, 42 percent put travel plans on hold and 30 percent changed their work arrangements, according to the research.

It is estimated 937,000 Australian parents are collectively saving almost $90 million each week by using their parents for free childcare.

In 2015, the Australian government’s National Commission of Audit recommended the country follow the lead of the Britain and create welfare payments for grandparent care givers.

However, the idea did not receive the support for Australia’s Treasurer Scott Morrison, who recently made it clear he has no plans to incorporate it into the 2016 budget.

“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,” Morrison said in October 2015.

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