Grandparental Leave – What is this?

Watch out Granny’s about!!

Update to original blog: The proposed Grandparental Leave which was an extension of shared parental leave (SPL) to grandparents has been shelved. Some reports suggest it may be reviewed again in early 2019 and others report that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy say there are no imminent plans to implement it.

An extension of Shared Parental Leave (effective April 2015) has been announced by the Chancellor, George Osbourne this week.

What Does Grandparental Leave Mean?

In a nutshell it means that grandparents (just as fathers can now) will be able to take some of the mother’s maternity leave as shared parental leave once she has curtailed it for the purpose of looking after the child within the first year of being born.

What is the likelihood of employers welcoming this?

From my experience it’s not very likely at all especially from smaller businesses, but before we get all worked up over yet more employment legislation obligations to be placed on employers let’s consider the impact it may have on your business:

Timeframes

  • Consultation will be during the first half of 2016
  • The proposed implementation is not expected until 2018

Current Workforce

  • When did you last analyse your workforce, what is the typical age range in your business?
  • Have you had many employees take shared parental leave since it came into force?
  • Based on the above 2 points, do you believe you are likely to have any employees actually take Grandparental Leave?

Arguments

There will always be arguments for and against any change or implementation of new employment legislation, after all we’re not robots and don’t all think and believe the same things.

The impact of Grandparental Leave on your business will be different from that of another business due to factors such as:

  • Size of business
  • Age of workforce
  • Internal company procedures and contractual rights
  • Facilities offered by employers – onsite childcare, discounted nursery vouchers etc.
  • Internal culture

Let’s consider a couple of points that contribute to the argument for Grandparental Leave:

  • Without wishing to typecast all grandparents as being of greater years in life and working part time as they wind down to retirement – we have to consider that it’s likely there are more grandparents who work part time and so to receive the current rate of £139.58 may not be a significant drop in their wage.
  • The benefit – they get to spend more time with their grandchild without a huge loss of income.
  • There is a higher percentage of grandparents who have paid their mortgage off and have less financial commitments than their children (the parents) and again is an encouraging factor as above to take Grandparental Leave.
  • It is reported that 2 million grandparents have stopped working so they can help look after their grandchildren, Grandparental Leave will help retain older workers who bring great benefits to businesses with their expertise and knowledge by being able to both support their family and work as opposed to having to leave work permanently to help their family out.

Now, what about the argument against Grandparental Leave?As a small employer Grandparental Leave will bring confusion, after all, Shared Parental Leave is very complicated and for some it’s still a complete mystery!

It will bring additional administration and a time implication to manage it.
Naturally the absence of an employee brings challenges itself such as costs associated with either recruiting temporary employees, agency workers or overtime rates to cover that absence.

The arguments could be extended but this is a blog and aims to provide to small employers the foundation and not a detailed insight of Grandparental Leave.

Next Steps

  • If your Shared Parental Leave policy is non-existent then consider this as a priority on your ‘to do list’.
  • Don’t panic! Let’s see what actually happens
  • Now you’re aware just take the time to keep an awareness of how this progresses as nearer the time your Shared parental Leave policy will need to be updated and you will need to know how to manage it in practice before it comes into force.Contact us if you want to discuss this further or require a Shared Parental Leave Policy
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