You may have heard in the press that the Government is looking to introduce shared grand parents leave (shared grand parental leave) for working grand parents to spend time with their granddaughter and/or grandson. The provisions are not expected to come in before 2018 and the Government will consult over the proposals during the first half of 2016. So it is a case of watch this space for the further details….
Shared parental leave will be available for parents whose child is expected to be born on or after 5th April 2015 or placed for adoption on or after that date. BIS commissioned research into attitudes towards the changes and to assess the potential take up of shared parental leave.
There were approximately 2000 respondents to the survey, of which around 50% were already parents. Of those surveyed 63% of women and 23% of men were currently the main childcare provider. The remainder either already shared childcare or had external support e.g. from extended family. 53% of respondents felt that childcare should be shared equally between parents and interestingly this view came from more men than women.
22% of respondents felt that parents should have the right to choose how to divide up their childcare and another 22% felt that childcare should be the mother’s main responsibility. 64% were aware of the forthcoming changes in the law and 67% of parents questioned said that had this been available to them they would have considered taking it. Again more men than women responded this way. Of those who were not yet parents 83% said that they would consider taking shared parental leave. Also interesting were the responses to how long it was acceptable for a woman to be off work after having a baby. In order of popularity; 28% thought 3-6 months, 24% said unlimited, 22% said 6-9 months and unsurprisingly more women than men thought it was acceptable to take a longer period off work following birth than men.
It remains to be seen if these statistics translate into take up of shared parental leave.
In addition to the shared parental leave coming into effect for babies due on or after 5th April 2015, a number of other less publicised amendments are due to reflect the modern family. Various rights have been given to the intended parents of a child born to a surrogate mother which are now all in force.
Parental leave will be available for eligible parents of a child to the age of 18 rather than 5 as at present with effect from 5th April 2015. Adoption will also include the “fostering for adoption” placements when the current rights to adoption leave come into force on 5th April 2015.
When the new shared parental leave and pay changes are made, further amendments have been made to ensure that couples who are adopting from outside the UK are included.
ACAS has now published guidance on the new shared parental leave rules. The new rules are due to come into effect in December 2014 and the guidance sets out best practice for employers and employees as well as containing a number of useful documents including a shared parental leave policy.
The guidance is available here.