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Grandparents to share parental leave

Grandparents to share parental leave

The government has now confirmed that, from 2018, working grandparents will be able to share parental leave and pay.

The plan involves extending the current system of shared parental leave (which allows a total of 52 weeks off), to cover grandparents as well as a child's mother and father. Families will also be allowed to split statutory shared parental pay, which is £139.58 a week or 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.

There will be a public consultation during the first half of 2016 which will address the logistical and practical challenges of making further changes to a system which is still in the “bedding down” stage for many employers.

According to government figures nearly 2 million grandparents have given up work, reduced their hours or taken time off work in order to help families with childcare and there are around 7 million grandparents involved in childcare in the UK.

Whether these figures translate into significant numbers of grandparents actually taking shared parental leave remains to be seen. As the changes are still some 2 years away there is no call for immediate action although employers may wish to follow or even contribute to the public consultation next year.

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