Tusk’s “grandmother’s” will help mothers return to work? We check. And we find … other “grandma’s”

Copyright: Photo. Grzegorz Skowronek/Agencja Wyborcza.plphoto. Gregory Skowro…

“granny” is a social benefit for mothers that Donald Tusk, the leader of PO, announced at a meeting with voters on Thursday, March 23, 2023 in Częstochowa. Women who would like to return to work after maternity leave would receive PLN 1,500 per month. And pay for it – for example – a nursery. Or share money with mothers/in-laws for childcare.

“This is another item on the agenda of the Civic Coalition. We called it “grandmother’s” to make it easier to discuss it, said Donald Tusk.

The benefit – according to the KO leader – would have

encourage women to return to work after giving birth.

“A woman who decides that she wants to return to work can also share this money with a symbolic grandmother. See how many Polish families it would be fair if the family could also honor the efforts of grandmothers. (…) I hope that it’s ‘granny’, that it can give a sense of relief and satisfaction, the feeling that someone

understood a Polish woman,

who will want to go back to work after birth, after raising in the first most important months – said Tusk.

After giving birth to a child, Polish women need care and often count on mothers’ help in raising children – sometimes more than fathers. Perhaps “grandma’s” would help temporarily. It has improved the situation of families with children, rewarded the effort that grandparents and grandmothers put into taking care of their grandchildren. But will it help – as Tusk argues – women return to work?

To check this, let’s first look at … another “granny”.

Because it is impossible to talk about Tusk’s idea without Małopolska. This is where the “Małopolska Nanny” program, financed by the European Social Fund, operates. And it is intended – as in “grandmother’s” – for the care of children up to three years of age for working parents.

“The idea was created by the Social Policy Department of the Małopolska Voivodeship Office in 2018. A nanny can be an unemployed person who is under 60 years old for women and 65 years old for men. They can also be family members. Funds for employing a nanny are provided by the province in cooperation with municipalities And the guardian is chosen by the parents” – says OKO.press Wojciech Kozak, councilor of the Małopolskie Voivodship.

Five years ago, the “Małopolska nanny” benefit amounted to PLN 1,500. Now the benefit amount is higher. Its minimum rate is PLN 2,490. The maximum the family can get PLN 3,490.

Secondly, the “Małopolska Nanny” differs from Tusk’s idea. His announcement shows that every mother who wants to return to work would receive “grandmother’s” gifts. Meanwhile, Małopolska classifies the benefit according to the income of a family member.

“Families with a child or a parent with a disability are preferred for the program. And also independent mothers. Because a mother with a child is also a family. And those that come from municipalities with limited access to nurseries” – says the councilor of the regional assembly.

Tusk argues that “grandmother’s” will help women return to work. “But that’s a myth. Perhaps PLN 1,500 a month will have an effect as a short-term solution. However, it will not change much on a global scale. Let’s look at the real costs of childcare. Let’s assume that the rate for childcare is PLN 20 net per hour. This means PLN 3,500 in such a situation, “grandmother’s” will not be enough to hire a nanny. Nor to pay for a nursery. Three-quarters of nurseries in Poland are private. It can only contribute to the fact that nurseries will start raising prices. In this way, we will not increase the availability of various forms of care” – says Karolina Bury, vice-president of the Parent in the City Foundation, an expert on the situation of women on the labor market.

Let’s go back to the “Małopolska nanny”. As of 2018, 900 families participated in the program, employing 960 nannies. “They are also independent mothers and fathers with children. Among the nannies, 5 percent are men” – says Kozak.

“Parents most need a nanny for the weekend.

Tired of everyday care, work, they want to go to the cinema or friends. Just rest.

Any way is good to help the family in raising children. I see that many young married couples are leaving the country because they have no prospects for a job or a flat” – says Kozak.

Will this role be fulfilled by “grandmother”? As a regional politician, however, I am skeptical about Donald Tusk’s idea. It’s a giveaway. It seems to me that the benefit should be classified in terms of family income. It is also worth increasing access to nurseries and kindergartens.

Grandmas are fantastic and it’s good that grandchildren say so to them.

But I have visited several families who use our program. Children are often cared for by young women or men.

If “grandmother’s” would help women return to the labor market, let’s first ask why they do not return to it after giving birth to a child?

As explained by OKO.press Karolina Bury, for three main reasons:

  • by the patriarchal model of the family,
  • worse economic situation for women
  • and an inefficient childcare system for children under 3 years old.

“Grandma’s” can give a sense of relief and satisfaction. The feeling that someone has understood a Polish woman who, after giving birth, after raising in the first most important months, will want to go back to work.

Women do not work because they take care of children and are in a patriarchal family model. Giving money to the mother, who will share it with the grandmother, deepens the stereotypical perception of the role of a woman who is a caretaker all her life.

Meeting with voters in Częstochowa ,23 mark 2023

“We have one of the lowest rates of professional activity of women in Europe. According to Eurostat, in the age group 15-64 it is only 63 percent. Three-quarters of women do not work precisely because they take care of two or more children. Meanwhile, in the European Union, the rate of professional activity is 71.9 percent.” Bury says.

“Giving money to the mother, who will share it with the grandmother, is a stereotypical perception of the role of a woman who is a caregiver. First as a mother-woman, then as a woman-grandmother,” says Bury.

patriarchal thinking that caring for a child is only a woman’s business.

It’s forcing women into caring roles for life. Because first a woman takes care of the children, then the grandchildren, and finally the parents. Meanwhile, the state should take responsibility for the child that is being born and direct support programs to both parents.

“And address women and men equally. Again, there is no father, no state in caring for a child. Why deepen the stereotype when it can be changed and solved systemically?” Bury says.

And how did the PiS government react to Tusk’s idea? Deputy Minister of Family and Social Policy, Barbara Socha, argues that “grandmother’s” in Poland is already here.

“What Donald Tusk came up with has been functioning for a year. “Grandma’s” is the sum of PLN 500 plus and the Family Care Capital (PLN 1,000 per month) for any care. Total PLN 1,500. We additionally pay half of the pension contributions to the grandmothers, and the return to the retirement age is 7 years more for the time with the grandchildren” – she wrote on Twitter.

“What Donald Tusk came up with has been functioning for a year. »Grandmother’s« is the sum of 500+ and Family Care Capital. Total PLN 1,500. We additionally pay half of the pension contributions to the grandmothers, and returning to the retirement age is 7 years more.

The programs are inherently different. 500 plus was to help families with children and counteract demographic decline. Families Care Capital is not for every mother with a child. And “grandmother’s” is to help women return to the labor market after giving birth

Twitter,23 mark 2023

But that’s not true. Firstly, it is difficult to compare Donald Tusk’s program, which is a general idea for now, to a specific solution introduced by PiS a few years ago. Secondly, the goal of 500 plus was completely different from the “grandmother’s” goal.

Let us remind you that the purpose of introducing 500 plus was primarily “to help families raising children and to counteract the demographic decline in Poland by granting these families a new childcare benefit”. The justification says so the act on state aid in raising children of 2016.

Meanwhile, “grandmother’s” is to help women return to the labor market. And support family members who care for children. Family Care Capital entered into force in January 2022. It’s up to 12,000. PLN for the second and subsequent child from the age of 12 to 35 months, paid in the amount of PLN 1,000 per month for a year or PLN 500 per month for two years. The parent decides which option is best for him. Only CPR does not support, for example, single mothers with one child. And it’s still not an analogous idea to “grandma’s”.

Employers could change the situation. Because women are discriminated against for potential motherhood on the labor market (we wrote about it, among others, here). Employers stereotype mothers as ineffective workers. And those who want to return to work after the birth of a child do not extend their contracts after they expire during parental leave. Or they ‘indicate’ that a woman will not be welcome at work after the holidays. Women find it potentially embarrassing. Grandma’s won’t solve this problem. So what if a woman gets an extra PLN 1,500 to go to work if she can’t go back to it?

“Therefore, an ad hoc solution could also be to support employers who help women return to work. They have a big impact on whether they will return to work after having a child. It is about introducing flexible employment conditions, for example, part-time work” – says Bury.

“A solution that can be promoted is also a day caregiver, i.e. a person who takes care of a maximum of five children aged 20 weeks to 3 years in home or home-like conditions. This solves two problems – lack of professional activity of children’s mothers and building new kindergartens It’s an easy and affordable solution.”

“I do not know solutions in the European Union that would offer women money for returning to work. It is rather the other way around. In Norway, women who do not decide to return to work are supported. They receive an allowance after maternity leave” – ​​says Bury.

He adds: “Donald Tusk could propose a solution that would increase the involvement of fathers in caring for children. It could be, for example, increasing the parental leave allowance for fathers. “Grandma’s” is easy money, which, under the guise of helping women return to the labor market, will perpetuate the stereotype” – says Bury.

All content supported by the European Media and Information Fund (EMIF) is the sole responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of EMIF and its partners, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the European University Institute.

Julia Theus

Journalist, worked in “Gazeta Wyborcza” and Wirtualna Polska. In OKO.press since 2021, graduate of Polish Philology at the University of Adam Mickiewicz in Poznań, scholarship holder of humanities and social sciences at the Sorbonne IV in Paris (Université Paris Sorbonne IV).


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