George Osborne has announced that working grandparents will be able to share parental leave in future
On 5 October 2015, the Chancellor announced that he will extend shared parental leave and pay to working grandparents.
The planned changes will increase flexibility and choice in parental leave arrangements and support working parents with the costs of childcare during the first year of a child’s life.
The government will bring forward legislation to enable this change, with the aim of implementing the policy by 2018. The government will consult on the details in the first half of 2016.
Recognising grandparents' contribution
Evidence suggests that nearly 2 million grandparents have given up work, reduced their hours or have taken time off work to help families who cannot afford childcare costs. Grandparents may be contributing as much as £8bn each year to bridge the gap as work pressures increase.
Evidence shows more than half of mothers rely on grandparents for childcare when they first go back to work after maternity leave, and over 60 per cent of working grandparents with grandchildren aged under 16 provide some childcare. In total, some 7 million grandparents are involved in childcare.
The new system will also provide flexibility in working arrangements for grandparents without fear of losing their job.
Of working grandparents who have never taken time off work to care for grandchildren under 16, around 1 in 10 have not been able to do so because they have either been refused time off by their employer or simply felt that they weren’t able to ask.
As a result of the planned changes, parents will be able to return to work sooner if they wish to.
The extension of shared parental leave and pay to working grandparents will ensure that hardworking families can structure their lives in the way that works best for them.