Swedish grandparents can be paid for taking care of grandkids


Big bank caught slugging dead customers with fees, 50,000 new opportunities for low deposit homebuyers, and the country where grandparents are paid to babysit. Here are five things you may have missed this week.

Major bank slugs dead customers with fees

Death and taxes may be two of life's certainties but passing away may not get us out of paying bank fees.

parental leave for swedish grandparents

This week saw ANZ sanctioned by the banking watchdog for failing to stop charging fees even after customers had passed away.

Despite first identifying the issue in early 2022, ANZ is still working through its customer remediation program, which will see the bank pay more than $3.2 million to 18,852 impacted estates.

Ian Govey, Chair of the Banking Code Compliance Committee (BCCC), says ANZ "should have done more to address this more quickly."

ANZ General Manager Customer Service Operations, Dan O'Neill says, "We know we have not always met the expectations of our customers and their families at a difficult time in their lives. For too many it has been a frustrating experience. For this we are sorry."

The BCCC notes that another unnamed bank was also charging fees to dead customers though on a much smaller scale.

50,000 new places open for low deposit home buyers

July 1 saw an extra 50,000 places come on board for the Home Guarantee Scheme, which lets first home buyers get into the market with as little as 5% deposit, and solo parents buy with just 2% deposit.

The scheme sees the federal government act as guarantor for the home buyer's mortgage, eliminating the need for lenders mortgage insurance - a significant saving on upfront costs.

Over the last four years the HGS has helped over 160,000 Aussies buy a home of their own.

Eligibility conditions apply, and as lenders have to opt in to the HGS, the low deposit scheme is not available with every bank.

This being the case, the Real Estate Institute of Australia says 80% of HGS placements have been made with the help of a mortgage broker.

The country where Nan and Pop are paid to mind the grandkids

Sweden is famous for many things including Abba, Ikea and Volvos.

But the Scandinavian nation is making headlines globally with a world-first - allowing grandparents who care for grandchildren to access paid parental leave.

The Swedish government's Social Insurance Agency - Försäkringskassan, announced that from July 1 parents will be able to transfer parental leave to their child's grandparents for up to 45 days of a child's first year or 90 days for single parents.

Nordic nations have a reputation for progressive social policies, and as a result they consistently rank highly in 'happiness' rankings.

It's a fair bet that a similar policy would be welcomed in Australia, where two in five grandparents with a grandchild aged under 13 years provide child care - a figure that rises to 63% if the youngest grandchild is under 10 years.

Research shows most grandparents enjoy caring for grandchildren but it can come at a personal cost. An Institute of Family Studies report reveals grandparents often cut back their own workdays or use annual leave to care for grandkids.

Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) may be available to grandparents on income support but they must be the primary carer of their grandchild, with at least 65% care of the child.

How much will you get back on tax this year?

What's not to love about a tax refund?

This year Australians are expecting an average tax refund of $1288 according to Finder, and for most of us, the days of hitting the stores to spend a refund are over.

One in two people (47%) plan to save their refund, with one in four expecting to use the refund to pay bills. Just 4% of taxpayers will go shopping with their refund.

While a tax refund will give cash-strapped families a leg-up, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is warning taxpayers not to jump the gun. It says people who lodge a tax return in early July are twice as likely to make a mistake.

ATO Assistant Commissioner Rob Thomson, says, "'Tax time is not a race, and there is a much higher chance that your return will be missing important information if you lodge in early July."

He adds, "We see lots of mistakes where people who rush to lodge early have forgotten to include interest from banks, dividend income, payments from government agencies and private health insurance details."

Waiting a few weeks could mean a hassle-free tax time.

Planning a visit to the Olympics? How much will it cost?

The Paris Olympics will kick off in just over a fortnight but it seems many of us are a bit 'meh' about the event.

A YouGov survey found over one-third (34%) of Australians say that it's unlikely they'll tune in to the spectacle on TV.

Aussies aren't alone in their ambivalence. The Paris Tourist Office expects international flight arrivals from the Oceania region (which includes Australia) to be down 30% during the Games compared to the same period last year.

If you are planning a last-minute trip to the Olympics, be prepared for the City of Lights to leave your wallet a whole lot lighter.

Economy class return flights from Sydney to Paris are priced from around $1720 with Vietnam Airlines. Allow plenty of time as the journey takes over 38 hours. Or pay just over $3000 for a Qantas flight and be there in less than 24 hours.

As is often the case with the Olympic Games, accommodation tariffs have soared. Hotel prices in Paris are up by as much as 64%, with the cost of short term rentals jumping 121% for the Games according to hospitality industry website Lighthouse.

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A former Chartered Accountant, Nicola Field has been a regular contributor to Money for 20 years, and writes on personal finance issues for some of Australia's largest financial institutions. She is the author of Investing in Your Child's Future and Baby or Bust, and has collaborated with Paul Clitheroe on a variety of projects including radio scripts, newspaper columns, and several books.