With life expectancy increasing and retirement being pushed further and further back, working grandparents are becoming more and more commonplace. In response Chancellor George Osborne has announced that shared parental leave will be extended to allow grandparents to be able to take care of their grandchildren.
Some grandparents give up work in order to support parents and the new rules are intended to offer more flexibility to multi-generational families with new born children.
The new policy is by no means a Tory original, it was previously proposed by Labour’s Harriet Harman in a Manifesto for Women produced before this year’s general election. The Chancellor’s plan will involve extending the current system of shared parental leave, allowing grandparents to claim a portion of the 52 weeks shared paid leave, which can currently be shared out between new parents. Statutory shared parental pay will also be available for sharing out.
In launching the policy the Conservatives are hoping to ease pressures on single working mothers, who previously would not have been able to share their leave. The Chancellor also intends that the new rules will allow parents to return to work more quickly if desired.
“Research shows two million grandparents have either given up a job, reduced their hours or taken time off work to look after their grandchildren,” the Chancellor told the Tory conference in Manchester. “Allowing them instead to share leave with their children will keep thousands more in the workplace.”