UK puts plans for grandparental leave on hold UK puts plans for grandparental leave on hold

UK puts plans for grandparental leave on hold
30 May 2018

The UK government has put plans to introduce grandparental leave, which was set to be launched this year, on hold. 

According to People Management, the plans, which would have extended shared parental leave (SPL) to grandparents, have been temporarily put to one side while the government carries out an evaluation of SPL policy in general. The findings are expected to be published early next year.

Plans to roll out leave to grandparents were announced by then-chancellor George Osborne at the Conservative Party Conference in October 2015, with implementation set for this year.

But research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), published in 2016, revealed that employers had differing views about the proposals. Just over a quarter believed they were a good idea as many mothers rely on grandparents for childcare when they first return to work following maternity leave. But a similar proportion felt it was a step too far.

Rachel Suff, the CIPD’s senior employment relations adviser, said: "Based on this evidence, the CIPD believes the government should think carefully before extending SPL to grandparents and should concentrate in the more immediate term on tackling the barriers to greater uptake of SPL by working mums and dads."

But she added: "With more and more people taking on caring responsibilities while working and people living longer, grandparents are likely to become a real lifeline for many people with children. So while there are more pressing priorities with SPL, it shouldn’t be shelved for too long or we won’t be able to keep up with the evolving demands of the labour market."

SPL, which enables parents to split 50 weeks of leave between both mother and father following the birth of a child, was launched in April 2015. But the policy has been heavily criticised after figures suggested that uptake was much lower than hoped for. A freedom of information request obtained by People Management last June revealed that only 7,100 men took shared parental pay in the 2016-17 tax year, compared with 221,000 who received statutory paternity pay. 

The grandparental leave proposals would have extended statutory shared parental pay to grandparents too. The current rate is £140.98 (US$188.05) per week or 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever is lower, for 37 weeks.

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

The UK government has put plans to introduce grandparental leave, which was set to be launched this year, on hold. 

According to People Management, the plans, which would have extended shared parental leave (SPL) to grandparents, have been temporarily put to one side while the government carries out an evaluation of SPL policy in general. The findings are expected to be published early next year.

Plans to roll out leave to grandparents were announced by then-chancellor George Osborne at the Conservative Party Conference in October 2015, with implementation set for this year.

But research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), published in 2016, revealed that employers had differing views about the proposals. Just over a quarter believed they were a good idea as many mothers rely on grandparents for childcare when they first return to work following maternity leave. But a similar proportion felt it was a step too far.

Rachel Suff, the CIPD’s senior employment relations adviser, said: "Based on this evidence, the CIPD believes the government should think carefully before extending SPL to grandparents and should concentrate in the more immediate term on tackling the barriers to greater uptake of SPL by working mums and dads."

But she added: "With more and more people taking on caring responsibilities while working and people living longer, grandparents are likely to become a real lifeline for many people with children. So while there are more pressing priorities with SPL, it shouldn’t be shelved for too long or we won’t be able to keep up with the evolving demands of the labour market."

SPL, which enables parents to split 50 weeks of leave between both mother and father following the birth of a child, was launched in April 2015. But the policy has been heavily criticised after figures suggested that uptake was much lower than hoped for. A freedom of information request obtained by People Management last June revealed that only 7,100 men took shared parental pay in the 2016-17 tax year, compared with 221,000 who received statutory paternity pay. 

The grandparental leave proposals would have extended statutory shared parental pay to grandparents too. The current rate is £140.98 (US$188.05) per week or 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever is lower, for 37 weeks.

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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