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New rights for working grandparents

28 October 2015

This year saw the introduction of new legislation giving working parents the right to share out the leave which is granted to them following the birth, or adoption, of a child. The provisions give parents flexibility as they can decide how much time they will each take off in the months following the birth or adoption of their child.

Despite the introduction of shared parental leave, it is still estimated that half of working mothers rely on grandparents for childcare when they return to work after the birth of their first child.

It is perhaps no surprise, then, that the government has recognised the crucial role that grandparents play in providing childcare and in supporting their working families, by announcing that shared parental leave rights will be extended to include working grandparents by 2018.

It is envisaged that the proposed new rights will allow grandparents greater flexibility in their own working lives, in order to help their children manage the ever-increasing costs of childcare. It is thought that take-up will be wide-reaching given that research shows that 2 million grandparents have given up work, reduced their hours or have taken time off work in order to look after their grandchildren.

There is little detail about the practicalities and predictably many questions already exist, such as can the time be divided between both parents and one grandparent, or two, three or even four?! Similarly, the shared parental leave allows the leave to be shared between a mother and her partner (who may not be the child’s father) or vice versa; will this mean that the new shared leave could be shared by partners of grandparents? Consultation is due to begin early next year, so it is expected that more detail will be released in the next six months.

In the meantime, keep up to date on all changes to employment legislation and case law by booking a place on one of our seminars on 19 and 26 November. Run in both Gloucester and Cheltenham, you will not only receive a thorough, plain speaking update but also have invaluable time with our team of employment law experts.

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Jenny Hawrot LLB (Hons)
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