This idea was first introduced in 2015 in David Cameron’s government and was essentially to give grandparents the right to share in the already existing shared parental leave so they could help to look after new grandchildren. The consultation was put on hold so they could evaluate the shared parental leave policy in general and so far, nothing has emerged from the government.
The plans were initially put in place as it had been noted that nearly 2 million grandparents sacrificed their jobs or took a reduction in hours to help care for their grandchildren. Grandparents often play an integral part of the care arrangements in families for young children, and with no help in place for them, this can lead to a significant loss of a valuable demographic in the workforce. To implement a policy which enables the extension of the shared parental leave policy however requires legislation and we are still waiting to see if this will take effect.
Another option for businesses wanting to encourage working grandparents to remain in their jobs is to follow in the footsteps of Saga, the travel and insurance company for over 50’s. They have implemented a Grandparental Leave policy as an additional benefit, being the first employer in the UK to do so. Their policy allows grandparents to have up to one weeks paid leave to celebrate the birth of their grandchildren. The policy also allows for grandparents to have access to their onsite nursery. This benefit was implemented after research that showed that 2 in 5 grandparents regularly provided childcare for their grandchildren and that 25% of these working grandparents found it difficult to balance work and childcare commitments. A policy of this sort will certainly help to ensure older workers know they are valued.
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