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Should grandparents be eligible to take unpaid leave to care for their grandchildren?

17th February, 2014

Several upcoming changes to parental leave were recently announced which are expected to be advantageous to parents in managing their work and family lives.

The changes, which are expected to come into force in 2015 will allow parents to share parental leave more flexibly, on their own terms and in some cases, concurrently. The Trades Union Congress (“TUC”) has now recommended that parental leave rights should also be extended to grandparents.

Grandparents currently have the right to request unpaid leave to care for their grandchildren in emergency situations but with TUC’s estimation that seven million grandparents provide regular care for their grandchildren, it has been recommended that the right is extended and not limited to emergencies.

It has also been reported, aside from TUC, that the current generation of grandparents will be ‘better off’ than the next generation, with their children relying on inheritance to maintain at the same standard of wealth. As such, it has been said that it would be more practical and economical for grandparents to take on childcare, allowing parents to continue in employment and further their careers.

TUC has suggested that working grandparents should be able to request regular time off such as one day a fortnight, rather than only an occasional day off in an emergency. This would help to maintain a regular routine for parents, grandparents, children and employers ultimately resulting in better time management for all parties.

With the increasing cost of both living and childcare, along with the other financial pressures of raising a family, the recommendations by TUC are likely to be welcomed by families who want to find a better balance between their work and personal lives.

For further information and advice on dealing with requests for parental leave, please contact Helen Watson on 01244 405565 or send an email to [email protected].

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