As you know currently only working parents have the statutory right to take shared parental leave but under plans announced by George Osborne, working grandparents will be given a new legal right to take time off to help care for their grandchildren.
The chancellor said that many grandparents played a central role in caring for younger generations, and the move would help them do that while allowing them to remain in work.
The plan will involve extending the current system of shared parental leave to cover grandparents, as well as the child’s mother and father.
However, the total of 50 weeks of leave that mothers get under maternity leave entitlements will not be extended, but the plan is aimed at giving greater flexibility to families in the first year of a child’s life. This will allow parents to share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of parental leave pay, currently £139.58 a week or 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever is lower, with a nominated working grandparent.
Osborne hopes it will allow working parents to return to work more quickly if they want to by giving them the option of sharing part of their leave entitlement with one of their own parents.
The Conservatives believe the policy will particularly benefit single mothers, who cannot currently choose to share parental leave, but will now be able to do so with one of their child’s grandparents.