What? Since October 2015, parental leave has been extended in United Kingdom to include working grandparents. It is now possible to share the 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of statutory parental across generations. Families will also be allowed to split statutory shared parental pay. The Conservative Government in the UK say the policy will particularly benefit single mothers. The goal is to allow parents to return to work more quickly if they want to.
So What? This change highlights many realities. First of all, it recognizes the fact that grandparents are busy working and caring. Parents often need help to combine work and family in a country where childcare is expensive. Instead of creating public childcare services, will welfare states rely more on private actors (family, volunteering etc.)? More broadly, at a time where family members are not always living in the same area or are not always available to help each other, should more potential caregivers be included in parental leave – friends or community members? Should men be encouraged to take all the parental leave they are entitled to?
- BBC – Working grandparents to share parental leave and pay
- Forum for the Future – Grandparental leave introduced in the UK