Shared parental leave – soon to be a family affair?

Year Published: 2015

As employers (and employment lawyers) continue to grapple with the intricacies of the shared parental leave legislation, the Chancellor yesterday announced plans to extend the shared parental leave scheme to working grandparents.

Under the new rules, both parents and grandparents will potentially be able to divide the statutory shared parental leave pay between them. This is currently £139.58 a week or 90% of average weekly earnings.

The government has said that nearly two million grandparents have given up work, reduced their hours or have taken time off work to help families who cannot afford childcare costs.

They have also stated that among working grandparents who have never taken time off work to care for grandchildren, around 1 in 10 have not been able to do so because they have either been refused time off by their employer, or simply felt that they weren’t able to ask.

The new changes will, it is hoped, allow families to structure childcare in a way that better suits their particular circumstances.

The new rules are set to take effect in 2018, and the government will be consulting on the details early next year.

Businesses can but hope the Chancellor keeps his promise to make sure the new rules are simple, a word that unfortunately cannot be used to describe the shared parental leave legislation currently in place.

We will of course keep you up to date with legislative changes as and when they occur. Watch this space for further updates!

If you would like any advice on the current shared parental leave legislation or on any other employment law issue, please contact our Employment Law & HR team on 0161 475 7676.

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