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Working Mums Rely On Grandparents For Childcare

September 7 2010 - Nearly half of working parents (44 per cent) in the UK are reliant upon their own parents to help with childcare according to research by, a jobsite for professional working mothers and flexible jobseekers.

The latest annual survey of nearly 2000 mothers found that grandparents play a vital role in enabling parents to return to work both by looking after the children and minimising the cost involved. Almost half (44 per cent) charge nothing. A total of 40 per cent of respondents use nurseries and 4 per cent use a nanny or Au Pair. The remainder use childminders, friends or other family members.

More than two-thirds of mothers are in employment, but 40 per cent reported that the cost of childcare inhibited their return. Of those paying for a service, monthly rates vary from £250 or less (23 per cent), £250-£750 (24 per cent), to over £750 (9 per cent).

All employed respondents agreed about the importance of flexible working arrangements. Some 69 per cent said their job is flexible with 77 per cent experiencing a supportive employer on their return to work. Just over half (53 per cent) of those requesting flexible or part time work, felt they had either achieved what they had asked for, or had reached an acceptable compromise. Asked about factors contributing to a family friendly organisation, respondents identified flexible hours for full time employees including the capacity to regularly work at home (76 per cent) and the availability of part-time work (66 per cent) as among the most important. Half of respondents who were not working identified the lack of appropriate and available flexible jobs (57 per cent and 53 per cent respectively) as additional hurdles.

Gillian Nissim, founder of, said:

"This year’s survey shows just how important grandparents are in helping parents get back into the workplace. Working mums are able to contribute significantly to the British economy as a result of their parents looking after their children. Without their help, it would be impossible for many mums to go back to work – grandparents not only help with the childcare but also keep childcare costs to a minimum.”

Sam Smethers, chief executive of Grandparents Plus, commented:

"This survey confirms that working mums are increasingly relying on grandparents for childcare. Families are under increasing financial pressure and grandparents are helping to bridge the child care gap. It is time we start recognising the growing contribution of grandparents."



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