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Leave for Grandparents on hold
The government has put its plans to introduce grand-parental leave on hold.

The plans which would have would have extended shared parental leave (SPL) to grandparents, have been temporarily put to one side while the government carries out an evaluation of the SPL policy in general. It is expected that this will be published early next year.

Plans to roll out leave to grandparents were announced in October 2015, with the intention of implementing the policy by 2018. A consultation on the extension was due to be launched in May 2016.

The Government's view at the time was that in many families, grandparents play a central role in caring for their grandchildren and helping to keep down the costs of childcare, but many grandparents are still in employment themselves. Their idea was to extend the Shared Parental Leave allowance so that it could also be used by grandparents during the first year of a baby's life or a child's adoption.

The government also said more than half of mothers count on grandparents for childcare when they first return from maternity leave.

However, the take-up of Shared Parental Leave, since its introduction in 2015 has been very low. It appears that only 7,100 men received shared parental pay in the 2016-17 tax year, compared with 221,000 who received statutory paternity pay.

The government announced a campaign to encourage more parents to take SPL in February. It seems that only 2% of couples have opted to take the leave and research by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has found that fewer than half (49 per cent) of those questioned were aware the policy existed, while just 8 per cent felt they knew a lot about the policy.

To be honest, I'm not surprised - it is one of the most complicated pieces of legislation to understand and implement from an employer's perspective. I do not think that the people who came up with the entitlement criteria and process required have ever actually had to implement it. I think that there are better ways of dealing with the problem because it is not just during the first year of a child's life that employees may want time off to spend with their grandchildren.
Posted on 01 Jun 2018

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