Labour proposes giving working grandparents four weeks' unpaid leave to look after their grandchildren

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First came changes to maternity leave, then paternity leave, and most recently new shared parental leave. But now, employers could have a new type of leave to accommodate – ‘Granny Leave’.

In an interview with The Daily Mail, Labour’s deputy leader, Harriet Harman said her party would introduce a new legal right to ‘granny leave’, to allow working grandparents take time off to help care for their grandchildren.

Harman said grandparents would be granted four weeks’ unpaid leave, and the measure was unveiled this morning as part of Labour’s special Women’s Manifesto.

It is thought up to half of working mums currently rely on their own parents to help them combine work and childcare. The new leave has been introduced because more and more traditionally ‘grandparent-aged’ people are still working, after the default retirement age was scrapped.

Business groups have yet to formally respond to the plans, but it is likely the plans will face stiff opposition from SMEs who feel they already have to accommodate enough employee rights.

Sam Smethers, chief executive of charity Grandparents Plus, said: ‘Grandparents are the hidden army of carers in Britain today. We know one in five working parents – some two million of them – would be forced to give up work without their grandparents to rely on. But increasingly grandparents are working too. So this policy is also a win for employers as it helps both parents and grandparents stay in work.”

Issues around childcare and flexible working will form a key part of Reward Live - our two-day conference and exhibition dedicated to promoting best practice in reward and benefits. 

To attend the conference, and see the exclusive speaker programme, click here