The idea was to extend the present right for shared parental leave (SPL) which is in place and has to be taken within a baby’s first year. A benefit of SPL is that parents could if they choose be on leave together, for up to six months. Alternatively, parents can take leave separately in blocks provided their separate employers’ agree. In summary the introduction of SPL means that it’s not just a mother who is afforded traditional maternity leave and a couple has more options.
The idea for grandparental leave was that this legislation could have been extended to grandparents so that potentially a mother could share her ‘forfeited maternity leave’ (a requirement of opting into SPL) with a grandmother, thus sharing the care of a child, parent and grandparent in the first 12 months of the baby’s life.
The rationale for these proposals was the acknowledgment of the significant cost of childcare and government studies which suggest nearly two million people have given up work or reduced their working hours to provide childcare for their grandchildren.
Nevertheless, for various reasons, including a lukewarm reception to the proposals by employers, grandparental rights are for now on the back burner. So if you are a grandparent looking to reduce your time at work to care for your grandchild, are there any other options for the time being? Well you could consider making a flexible working request as all employees are afforded this right under law.
If you need more support or have questions on this get advice from our HR experts to assist you in making the best of a flexible working request.
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