Grandparents to receive shared parental leave and pay
Legally, from 2018, grandparents will have the right to shared parental leave; the Conservative government announced at their party conference in Manchester last week.
“This is a modern Conservative policy that backs working families and gives them the freedom to choose what will work best for them,” Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne says of the new proposal.
Studies have shown that almost two million grandparents (14%) have quit their job, reduced their hours or taken time off work to look after their grandchildren. The proposal is thought to encourage grandparents to stay in work, rather than quit their jobs completely to care for their grandchildren, as it gives grandparents the right to claim back their job after one year. The scheme also aims to get the parents themselves back into work more quickly. Osborne argues that ‘allowing grandparents to share leave with their children will keep thousands more in the work place, which is good for our economy’.
Since April this year, both parents have already been entitled to shared parental leave of up to 52 weeks before their child turns 1; so, this policy is also an advantage for single working mothers as they are not able to share this leave with a partner.
Out of the potential 52 weeks of leave, 39 weeks of parental leave pay can be claimed, at a rate of £139.58 a week or 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever option is lower. This can be shared with the grandparents as the plan draws on existing funds, which means every grandparent that takes up the allowance, a parent forfeits the right to claim it.