Chancellor Extends Shared Parental Leave to Working Grandparents

Categories // HR and Training

An announcement by the Chancellor George Osborne has opened up an interesting dilemma to businesses. His new policy for supporting working parents is to extend the shared parental leave to grandparents. This may send a few shivers down the backbone of some bosses but what will be the actual impact?

In an extension to the current Shared Parental Leave grandparents will be able to divide the statutory shared parental pay between them. The current pay level is £139.58 a week (90% of the average weekly wage). 

The idea behind the extension is to help single parents who may not have a partner who can support them and so they can turn to their parents for help. The government hopes that this additional flexibility of sharing maternity leave will help parents return to work more quickly. 

Figures show that two million grandparents have either reduced their hours of work or have given up their jobs to look after their grandchildren. This is no insignificant figure, and shows that grandparents are keen to support their children and help raise their grandchildren. If this is the case it is an additional cost that employers have to consider. But will grandparents really take this up? It is difficult to know, but any panic over this policy may not be necessary as experts consider that it is unlikely that there will be a stampede to take it up this new benefit.

Another question to consider is what are the administration cost implications? After all many things introduced by government can be time consuming and paperwork heavy. The Chancellor has promised to keep the rules simple, which must be a big relief to businesses. 

Don’t worry just yet about the changes as it is expected that the legislation needed to implement this policy will be in place by 2018, with a government consultation on the details in 2016. 

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