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Grandparents set to receive shared parental leave and pay from 2018

5th November 2015

You will have heard at the beginning of October that George Osborne announced that the government plans to extend the current law in relation to shared parental leave. This will allow working grandparents to take time off to care for their grandchildren. Families will also be able to share the statutory shared parental pay, which is the lower of £139.58 per week or 90% of earnings.

The aim behind the plan is to increase the flexibility that is afforded to families during the first year of a child’s life. The Chancellor has said that over half of mothers rely on grandparents for childcare when returning to work after having a baby and that "research shows two million grandparents have either given up a job, reduced their hours or taken time off work to look after their grandchildren.”

It is expected that the introduction of “grandparental” leave will particularly benefit single mothers who are unable, presently, to share their parental leave with the father of their child.

The extension of the shared parental leave provisions has not yet taken effect, and the government aims to implement legislation to enable the change by 2018. There is expected to be a consultation on the finer details of the proposed policy in the first half of next year.

So what does this mean for you as an employer? The total of 52 weeks leave that is currently provided under the shared parental leave provisions will not be extended. Employers should also remember that this is not in addition to the shared parental leave that has been provided for parents and instead means that parents will be able to share up to 52 weeks of leave with a working grandparent. The extension of shared parental leave could also benefit employers as it is hoped that it will allow working parents to return to work more quickly, should they want to, after the birth of their child.

The Chancellor has also claimed that as grandparents have been known to give up work or reduce their hours to assist with childcare, the introduction of grandparental leave provisions will keep thousands more in work and will in turn be good for the economy.

If you are concerned about shared parental leave or the impact that the introduction of grandparental leave will have on your business, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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