David Cameron has indicated that the government would be willing to consider the Labour party’s pre-election plans to allow working grandparents to share their children’s parental leave in order to take care of their grandchildren.
Adam Pike, employment solicitor at Ansons Solicitors, explains how ‘granny leave’ would work in practice and what this says about changing attitudes to gender roles within the workplace.
Under the new shared parental leave scheme introduced earlier this year, new parents whose child’s expected week of birth began on or after 5 April 2015, or who adopted children on or after that date, are entitled to share up to 50 weeks of parental leave and 37 weeks of statutory shared parental pay between them.
The only main restriction placed on couples is that the first two weeks of parental leave must be taken by the child’s mother or primary care giver. The couple are then free to decide which of them were to make use of the leave to care for the child. This could include both parents taking parental leave at the same time if they wish, so long as the total time taken does not exceed what is jointly available to the couple.
During the period of shared parental leave, couples are also entitled to share up to 37 weeks of statutory shared parental pay. This is calculated in a similar way to statutory maternity pay.
The purpose of the new regime is to enable mothers and primary adopters to return to work before the end of their maternity leave, without sacrificing the rest of the leave that would otherwise be available to them.
Adam Pike, employment solicitor at Ansons Solicitors says, “The introduction of shared parental leave legislation demonstrates a shift in society’s perception of the traditional roles of men and women in the workplace. It also recognises the need for equality and flexibility.
The proposals to potentially extend the regime to include so called ‘granny leave’, suggests that both the government and the business sector generally recognise a need for greater flexibility in a workforce that promotes equality of men and women, and which is likely to be made up of far more older employees over the coming decades.”
For further information please speak to Adam Pike in the employment law team on 01543 431 197 or email@example.com.