Shared Parental Leave will be Extended to Grandparents

The Government have announced that Shared Parental Leave will be extended to grandparents.

Under the new proposals, parents will be able to share up to 50 weeks of leave with a nominated working grandparent. There will be eligibility criteria that the grandparent must meet in order for the leave and pay to be shared.

The aim is to introduce this by 2018. Consultation on the details will take place during the first half of 2016.

The plan was announced by chancellor George Osborne as the Conservative conference began in Manchester. He said it was hoped this would allow working parents to return to work more quickly. It is hoped the policy will particularly benefit single mothers, who cannot currently choose to share parental leave.

He said: “Research shows two million grandparents have either given up a job, reduced their hours or taken time off work to look after their grandchildren. Allowing them to share leave with their children will keep thousands more in the workplace, which is good for our economy.”

Labour’s Harriet Harman had proposed a similar policy in a women’s manifesto ahead of the general election.

Key Dates

Early 2016 – Government will issue a consultation paper

2018 – Legal provisions will come into force


If SPL is extended to include grandparents, there are a number of possible implications.

The Risks

Multiple grandchildren: the Government might place limitations on the amount of leave a grandparent could take.

Enhanced Maternity Benefits: if you fail to offer the same enhancements to a grandparent who is utilising grandparents leave this could raise risks of age and indirect sex discrimination.

The Benefits

Grandparent leave could help businesses retain skilled older workers as they will no longer have to choose between remaining in work and caring for grandchildren.

Single parents or parents whose partner may not qualify for Shared Parental Leave will be able to return to the workplace earlier than they would have done otherwise, which in turn, may benefit employers.

Potential Uptake

Mothers are increasingly having children later in life. Therefore, grandparents are more likely to be older and have already retired, meaning that they would not be entitled to take Shared Parental Leave.

Grandparents who are seeking to maximise their earnings to enhance their pensions may be reluctant to swap to statutory pay.

I will update this page as more details about this development are announced.

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Shared Parental Leave will be Extended to Grandparents


Kathryn is a highly experienced HR Manager with a wealth of skills and knowledge acquired across a variety of industries including manufacturing, health and social care and financial services. She has worked in small localised business and larger multi sited organisations and is comfortable liaising with senior managers and union officials as well as answering queries from team members. Connect with Kathryn on:

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