Working grandparents will have the option to share parental leave with their son or daughter to look after their grandchildren as part of the parental leave allowance.
The current system allows both the mother and father of the newborn child to ‘share’ parental leave and pay between them. The UK government currently allows new parents to share up to 50 of the 52 weeks statutory maternity leave entitlement and up to 37 of the 39 weeks statutory maternity pay entitlement.
The current weekly rate of payment of statutory shared parental pay is £139.58, or 90% of average weekly earnings where this figure is less than £139.58.
Shared parental leave was introduced in April 2015 and has been a success, encouraging the government to widen the net on who can also access the scheme.
A Helping Hand for Parents
The move has been announced to help younger parents return to work faster if they wish to. The policy will also help single mothers, who will be able to share leave with their parents if there is no partner to share leave with.
The policy will also help working grandparents to benefit from shared parental leave and pay without giving up their job or taking time off work to look after their grandchildren.
George Osborne, who announced the plan in October 2015, highlighted the ‘central role’ many grandparents play in caring for a child, with more than half of new mothers relying on grandparents for childcare after their return to work.
Grandparents sharing parental leave and pay will become an option for new parents from 2018, with a consultation on the details of the policy happening in the first six months of 2016.