The Government has recently announced its intention to extend shared parental leave even further to working grandparents (grandparental leave). This means that both parents and grandparents will share an entitlement to paid leave from work to care for the new addition to the family.
The crucial role that working grandparents play in providing childcare and supporting their families is clearly now being recognised by the Government. It is thought that roughly two million grandparents have actually given up work, reduced their working hours or taken time off to help their children who cannot afford the increasing costs of childcare. Recent studies show that more than half of new mums rely on grandparents for childcare when they return to work after maternity leave, and over 60% of working grandparents provide some childcare.
It appears that there will be some difficulties in actually implementing this scheme, particularly the fact that there will be a potential four grandparents for each child to benefit from the scheme, even more if partners who are not biologically related to the child are included. It is unclear therefore whether a single pot of leave will be available for sharing between six or so people and how practical this would be.
Of course from a pensions aspect, employers will need to ensure that if the Government introduces the new scheme and legislation requires employers to give rights to people on grandparental leave, then employers will need to ensure that the pension scheme rules are updated in line with the legislation.
Another thing to bear in mind is that it is envisaged the scheme will only be for the first year of the child’s life so it will not help grandparents who are helping out with toddlers and school children, which most are in fact doing. Unfortunately, if you are thinking of taking advantage of the scheme any time soon, it is anticipated that this will not be implemented until 2018.