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INSIGHT: Shared Grandparental Leave Announced

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Family flexibility and care provided by the extended family has been extended as shared parental leave and pay has been extended to working grandparents, without fear of them losing their jobs. 

The planned changes, announced by Chancellor George Osborne, will increase flexibility and choice in parental leave arrangements and support working parents with childcare during the first year of a child’s life. 

Employers need to note that legislation could mean the government will implement the policy by 2018. 

“Shared parental leave has been on the radar for the past couple of years and since its introduction has created much more flexibility for employees, but the needs of the employer were also factored into the legislation,”  said head of employment law, Susan Mayall.

“Parents have had to submit a leave notice at least eight weeks before their proposed first period of leave and I would expect that the rules will be very similar for grandparents, giving flexibility to employers and employees is what this is essentially about and looking forward to the changing nature of our working and home lives,” added Susan.

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 and 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. In total, some seven million grandparents are involved in childcare.

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, parents will be able to return to work sooner if they wish to. 

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