Results of a recent survey have led to calls for a specific right for grandparents to be able to take time off to care for their grandchildren.
The survey, by Ipsos MORI (a market research company), which was jointly commissioned by Grandparents Plus, Save the Children and the Family and Childcare Trust, claims that 1.9 million grandparents have given up a job, reduced their hours, or taken time off work, to look after their grandchildren. It also found that 2.2 million grandparents who look after their grandchildren do so to allow the child’s parents to go to work, and 1 million do so because the parents cannot afford childcare.
It is suggested that introducing ‘grandparental leave’ would help both parents and grandparents to remain in work, especially as more people will be working until they are older.
The survey does not specify the details of how grandparental leave would work. It could perhaps be similar to the unpaid entitlement for parents to take time off for dependants (see our FAQ article on this right here – some grandparents may be able to claim this already), or it could go further and allow periods of unpaid leave for grandparents to help parents with childcare.
The question is whether introducing such a right would actually prove of any benefit. A grandparent who is an employee can now make a flexible working request following the recent extension of this right, and that may well already help parents and grandparents manage childcare.
We will of course keep you informed on any developments in this area.
If you would like to talk through a situation you are dealing with, or if you need advice on any aspect of employment law, please contact any member of the Pure Employment Law team (01243 836840 or [email protected]).