April 2015 saw the arrival of Shared Parental Leave. This enables working mothers to end their maternity leave in order to share leave and pay with their partner.
Last week at the Tory Conference there was an announcement that the Government was looking at allowing parents to transfer part of their family-friendly leave to grandparents.
Having the option to share the leave with the child’s grandparents will help to ensure that parents can return to work more quickly. It will also encourage more grandparents to remain in work.
Chancellor George Osborne said: “More than half of mothers rely on grandparents for childcare when they first return to work after having a baby. In many families, grandparents play a central role in caring for their grandchildren and helping to keep down the costs of childcare.”
“Increasing numbers of grandparents, however, also want to remain in work themselves. Research shows two million grandparents have either given up a job, reduced their hours or taken time off work to look after their grandchildren.” (Mail on Sunday, 4th October 2015)
Denise Keating, chief executive of enei, the Employers’ Network for Equality and Inclusion, welcomed the news. She commented: “We already know that many parts of society have to date been unable to benefit from shared parental leave, including single mothers, those whose partner is financially unable to take shared parental leave and families where one parent is self-employed.”
“Research has found that the majority of new mothers are already reliant on grandparents for childcare upon their return to work, and this extension will reduce the need for older workers to leave the workforce permanently, thereby extending working lives.”
The Government has said it aims to implement the policy by 2018, consulting on the details in the first half of next year.