Grandparents in work now allowed to take parental leave to care for grandchildren

Chancellor George Osborne has announced that the Government will extend shared parental leave (52 weeks off in total) to cover grandparents as well as a child's parents.

This means parents will be able to give some of their parental leave to the grandparents so they can return to work whilst, from 2018.

The changes are designed to increase choice for working parents and limit their childcare costs during the first year of a child’s life. The Government expects to consult on its plans early next year.

Almost two million grandparents have given up work, cut their working hours or have taken time off work to help families who cannot afford childcare costs.

The Treasury has stated that grandparents may be contributing as much as £8bn each year to bridge the gap.

More than half of new mums rely on grandparents for childcare when they first return to work after maternity leave.

In total, seven million grandparents help with childcare and the Government’s decision means they can now offer childcare without worrying about losing their job.

In a statement, the Treasury said: “The extension of shared parental leave and pay to working grandparents will ensure that hardworking families structure their lives in the way that works best for them.”

Imelda Redmond chief executive of the children and families charity 4Children said: “Grandparents play a central role in the childcare arrangements of many families.

“Including grandparents in shared parental leave will give parents more choice and help them to better manage the high cost of childcare.

“The next goal should be to ensure that childcare provision bridges the current gap between the end of parental leave and the beginning of the free childcare entitlement for two to four-year-olds.”

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