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Parental leave extended to grandparents

Posted on 28 October 2015

Returning to work after having a baby is tough for new parents, especially if there are money worries about the cost of childcare. In April 2015, shared parental leave was implemented, allowing both parents to share up to 52 weeks of leave, not just the mother.

Many parents rely on grandparents too for childcare, allowing them to go back to work and save money. Parental leave has now been extended to grandparents, following the Conservative Party Conference on the 4th October 2015.

The Government hope the planned changes will increase flexibility and choice in parental leave arrangements and support working parents with the costs of childcare during the first year of a child’s life.

In addition to the changes in leave, families will also be able to split statutory shared parental pay which equates to 90% of average weekly earnings or £139.58 a week, whichever is lower.

According to the BBC, research shows that two million grandparents have given up a job, reduced their hours or taken time off work to look after their grandchildren. The new plan will benefit all families, but particularly parents who wish to return to work earlier or single parents who can share the leave exclusively with a grandparent.

Grandparents care makes a big difference to many families, who could simply not function financially or practically without their help. They often give up their own careers to allow the parents to stay in work and provide the necessary care and attention that children need. Although nurseries and other childcare facilities are well equipped and designed to care for children whilst their parents are at work, there isn’t the same one to one interaction that builds strong relationships.

Being surrounded by loving grandparents is the most important benefit for children, but it’s also important to consider the positive effects on society as the extended leave allows more parents to go back to work, which is good for our economy and growing workforce.