**Family carer top-up worth £875-a-year touted to avoid women retiring on pensions a THIRD the size of men’s :
_Government would make contributions into the retirement pots of family carers.
This would be equivalent to the automatic enrolment minimum 8 per cent rate on a salary based on the national living wage.
Some 91% of mothers want to work, but 69% consider not doing so because of childcare costs, finds new survey.
Grandparents are providing some £22.5bn a year in free childcare to help out_> .**
**_An annual £875- a-year ‘family carer’ top-up to pensions is being floated to help close the gigantic gap between women and men’s pots at retirement age.
Women are retiring on pensions a third the size of men’s, mainly because many opt to work part-time to shoulder caring responsibilities, according to recent research.
Under the top-up plan being pushed by a pension firm and thinktank, the Government would make contributions into the retirement pots of family carers who have either stopped working or taken part-time roles.
The amount paid in would be the equivalent of the automatic enrolment minimum 8 per cent rate on a salary based on the national living wage, which is currently £8.21 an hour, according to the proposal by NOW: Pensions and the Pensions Policy Institute.
Contributions would be paid alongside child benefit and credits towards the state pension and cost £1.2-1.6billion a year, depending on take-up, they calculate.
The typical sum saved towards retirement by a woman in her 60s is £51,100, while men of that age have put away £156,500, a study released by NOW and the PPI in the summer revealed.
A new survey by NOW shows that 91 per cent of mothers want to return to work, but 69 per cent consider not doing so because of childcare costs.
As a result, grandparents are now providing the equivalent of £22.5billion a year in free childcare to help mothers go back to full-time work, it calculates based on Age UK and Government data.
Some 68 per cent of mothers said without the support of family and friends, childcare would be impossible. And despite three out of four mothers going to work, 29 per cent with an under-14 had reduced their hours.
NOW explains that the decision by more women than men to give up or scale back work to care for children accounts for some 31 per cent of the £100,000 gap between their pension pots at retirement, while women receiving lower pay than men accounts for 19 per cent of the gap.
The firm also points out that women need to save between 5 and 7 per cent more than their male counterparts throughout their working lives to allow for living longer - to 82.9 years on average, compared with 79.2 years for men.
NOW is also calling for a change to auto enrolment rules which would see contributions deducted from the first pound of people’s salary, rather than on earnings starting at £6,136 as they are now.
This would increase the size of the annual ‘family carer’ pension top-up it is proposing to £1,366.
It says other ways to help parents and grandparents caring for children include:
- Employers introducing flexible working practices to enable women to return to work, save for retirement, and boost productivity rates.
- Women continuing to pay into pensions when they have children. Read more here about the difference this can make to your eventual pension.
- Grandparents taking advantage of National Insurance credit transfers from parents to avoid losing state pension when they step in to care for children. You can claim these retrospectively back to April 2011. Read more here about how to do this.
Joanne Segars, chair of trustees at NOW: Pensions, said: 'While it’s encouraging to see that more women than ever are in work, more needs to be done to ensure that they have an equal opportunity to save for a comfortable retirement.
'Whilst auto enrolment continues to give workers the head-start they need to prepare for their retirement, the focus no needs to be on helping mothers return to the workforce.
‘We are leaving it to grandparents to provide free childcare when we should be adopting a similar model to our EU counterparts whose economies are benefiting by getting mothers back into the workforce faster.’
Daniela Silcock, head of policy research at the PPI, said: 'While policy changes, most notably the introduction of a family carer top up and [auto enrolment] contributions paid on every pound of earnings, go some way to closing the gender pension gap, further social, policy and labour market changes would be required to close the gap entirely.
‘More affordable and accessible childcare plus flexible working options, would enable more women to return to work and recommence saving into their pension pot earlier.’
NOW surveyed 2,000 mothers aged 45 and under from the UK who were employed, on maternal leave, or a full-time mother in late October._**
Interesting … WHY ONLY WOMEN ???
Plenty of male carers out there who have had to give up paid work to care !!!