The government has announced that it plans to introduce legislation in 2018 that will extend the right to take shared parental leave and pay to grandparents.
The move comes amid reports that nearly 2 million grandparents have had to alter their working arrangements in order to help their children cope with parenting. Evidence suggests that 1 in 10 grandparents who have not taken time off to assist either could not do so because their requests were refused or did not ask because they believed requests would be refused.
Current shared parental leave provisions allow parents to opt out of the traditional maternity leave scheme and share up to 52 weeks of leave between them. Leave can be taken in a variety of different ways, including parents taking non-consecutive “blocks” of leave and taking concurrent leave so that the family can spend longer periods of time together. It is not clear how grandparents will fit into the current model although further detail can be expected as part of the government’s consultation on the proposals which is expected to run in the first half of 2016.