Grandparents in work to be allowed to take time off for grandchildren

Working grandparents will be able to take shared parental leave to care for grandchildren.
Working grandparents will be able to take shared parental leave to care for grandchildren.

Paid parental leave is to be extended to working grandparents under plans announced by the Government.

Grandparents who are working will be able to look after newborns so that parents can return to work and will be eligible for paternity leave benefits.

The plan would extend the current system where parents can share up to 52 weeks of leave.

Chancellor George Osborne said: “More than half of mothers rely on grandparents for childcare when they first return to work after having a baby.

“Research shows two million grandparents have either given up a job, reduced their hours or taken time off work to look after their grandchildren.”

He said that allowing them to share leave with their children will keep thousands more in the workplace.

Scott Knowles, chief executive of the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce, said: “Shared parental leave came into effect for children born on or after April 5 this year. Many firms are still struggling to come to terms with it. Adding a nominated grandparent to the entitlement increases the management burden by half and could see three employers involved in managing leave for each infant.

“It’s another layer of complexity in an already difficult-to-manage policy and something of an indictment on modern society, when Government accepts that parents can no longer cope with raising their own children without recourse to grandparents for financial help and child care.

“It suggests Government is papering over the cracks of the fundamental issues which the modern family faces when it should be looking at the root causes such as the social and financial pressure on both parents to work full time.”