Parents, grandparents and UK employers, listen up!
Shared parental leave – itself a relatively new right granted to parents – is now going to be extended to grandparents, the Chancellor announced at his party’s conference. When this new ruling comes into force, grandparents will be entitled to take paid leave from work to help the parents with childcare, taking an allocation of shared parental leave earnings at £139.58 or 90% of average weekly earnings.
Employers have had mixed reactions about this extension of shared parental leave. Concerns have arisen around costs of providing the leave, as well as complaints that it further complicates shared parental leave introduced early this year – something many may have only just got to grips with.
What is the purpose of the new ruling? In the first instance it’s a brilliant move for single parents, many of whom will not really benefit from Shared Parental Leave.
It opens the opportunity for them to share 52 weeks of leave, even though they’re without a partner to share the leave with. Aside from single parents, grandparental leave will make it easier for all parents to return to work sooner, as well as prevent grandparents from having to leave their jobs to fulfil their childcare duties. According to research, 2 million committed grandparents have either quit a job, reduced their hours or taken time off work to look after their grandchildren – this new ruling is certainly to their benefit.
Previous ‘new’ rules regarding flexible working requests allows grandparents with 26 continuous weeks of employment to change their working patterns. This new extension of shared parental leave will allow them to take multiple weeks of leave from work.
The implementation of grandparental leave is expected in 2018, so there’s plenty of time to prepare. That’s one ray of light if you think you will be adversely affected by this rule change. Our monthly People Matter newsletter will keep you up to date with this as it develops, and much more! If you have any questions about shared parental leave in the meantime, get in touch with us at The HR Dept.