Working grandparents will soon be entitled to time off to help with childcare, the government has announced.
Speaking at the Conservative Party conference last month, Chancellor George Osborne told members that existing shared parental leave entitlements which currently allow both sets of parents to share 52 weeks to care for their birth or adopted children, will soon be extended to include grandparents.
In addition, statutory shared parental pay – just under £140/week – will be split between families.
In his conference speech, Mr. Osborne said: “Research shows two million grandparents have either given up a job, reduced their hours or taken time off work to look after their grandchildren. Allowing them instead to share leave with their children will keep thousands more in the workplace, which is good for our economy."
Matt Duffy, Head of Online Consultancy at Aon Employee Benefits said: “Giving working parents more choice and flexibility on how to manage childcare requirements with a desire to return to work has got to be good news, for everyone concerned – children, parents, employers…and now, grandparents.”
However, the CIPD have warned that the new announcements may not be met with much enthusiasm by employers. Speaking to the CIPD, Linda Jones, Head of Employment at Pinsent Masons commented that employers had only just ‘got to grips’ with complexities around shared parental leave which was introduced earlier in 2015 and added that cost may be an additional concern.
"However, any concerns may prove to be unfounded as it’s unlikely that many employees will be rushing to take up the new benefit,” she said. Single mothers and those parents wanting to return to work early are likely to be an ‘exception’.
Duffy agreed. He added: “The take-up rates on the existing Shared Parental Leave rules have been very low, so it is unlikely we are going to see a stampede of grandparents deserting the workplace to trade in their entitlement.”
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