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The big question: Would the proposed grandparent leave significantly help working parents?

Our experts look at how workplaces can further support their working parents

19 May 2017
Maggie Williams

“Yes, of course it helps. Importantly, it helps on two different levels. A few working grandparents will take it up. The numbers initially will be very small, but for those that do, then the help – both financially and logistically – will be very meaningful. Perhaps, more importantly, it’s another significant statement about how the world of work and family is changing. It is becoming more fluid, inter-connected and complicated. Grandparent leave is an acknowledgement of that shift and underlines the role that both employer and government have in allowing everyone to combine work and family successfully.” Ben Black, director, My Family Care

 

“When I deliver seminars on parenting topics, a considerable number of grandparents attend. Many play a central role in keeping down the cost of childcare. Increasing numbers of grandparents also want to stay in work but I’m sure would welcome some leave. Parental leave for fathers is in place but I don’t think many dads opt to take extended leave. A considerable cultural shift in attitudes is needed before this becomes the norm. The other concern is that it doesn’t cause any resentment from people who are not parents or grandparents. They may want flexibility for entirely different reasons that should be considered.” Rachel Vecht, director, Educating Matters

 

“Grandparents play an important role in childcare: 41% of parents taking part in the 2017 Modern Families Index study call on their own parents to help. The proposal to extend shared parental leave to grandparents, however, risks undermining the intention of the policy – to give fathers the opportunity to share care of their children – by perpetuating gender divisions in caring across the generations. That isn’t to say a more effective way of supporting grandparents who take on childcare isn’t needed. Investing in the UK’s childcare infrastructure and flexible working opportunities would be useful starting points.” Sarah Jackson, chief executive, Working Families


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