Grandparents giving up their jobs to help care for their grandchildren are to be offered a lifeline under recent government proposals.
According to government research, almost half of all new mothers rely on help from their parents when they first return to work. And two million grandparents have either given up a job, reduced their hours or taken time off work to look after their grandchildren.
Under the new proposals, grandparents will be given the right to share parental leave with their children, allowing one or both of the new parents to return to work much quicker.
Shared parental leave was introduced in April 2015, enabling partners to decide how maternity leave was taken or shared between them.
The new proposals are aimed at helping families keep down the cost of childcare while encouraging grandparents to remain in work instead of giving up their jobs to help raise the children.
Sarah Naylor, employment law specialist at Atherton Godfrey, said: “The proposal recognises the important role that grandparents play in caring for their grandchildren. People are working well into their 70’s now but can find it difficult to maintain a work life balance while providing child care.
The proposals will come as a welcome move for families, particularly single mums and those that are financially unable to share the parental leave, but for many employers still trying to get to grips with the new shared parental leave, it could be seen as something of an administrative nightmare.”
The government has said that it will aim to implement the policy from 2018 and will be consulting on the details early next year.
There are no plans to alter the current arrangement for a total of 50 weeks leave and up to 37 weeks parental leave pay. At the moment, pay is £139.58 per week, or 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever is lower, with a nominated working grandparent.
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