Introduced in April 2015, the new laws surrounding Shared Parental Leave, which enables mothers to end their maternity leave in order to share leave and pay with their partner, has this week seen a fundamental development which will allow Grandparents to take parental leave.

The plans were announced by George Osborne at the Conservative party conference in Manchester and follow previous indications that the Government was looking at allowing parents to transfer part of their leave, to grandparents, to offer more flexibility in a family’s working life.

Furthermore, families will also be allowed to split statutory Shared Parental Pay which is currently the lower of £139.58 a week or 90% of the individual’s average weekly earnings.

A Boost for the Economy

This shift will have a positive effect on the economy; not only will it encourage more Grandparents to remain in employment, rather than taking early retirement or leaving their jobs to help their own children with childcare, allowing Grandparents to take a more central role in caring for their grandchildren.  It will also help families tackle the never-ending problem of the rising cost of childcare.

Osborne announced that this move will hopefully allow working parents to return to work more quickly, if they want to, by giving them the option of sharing part of their leave entitlement with one of their parents.

Particular emphasis has been placed on single parents who cannot currently choose to share Parental Leave.  They will now have the flexibility to do so with one of their child’s grandparents.  Osborne said “allowing Grandparents to share parental leave with their children will keep thousands more in the workplace, which is good for our economy.”

A HR Headache?

Due to be implemented in 2018, with consultation on the details proposed for the first half of next year, we wonder whether the uptake for this new offering will be high, or whether parents and Grandparents alike will be reluctant to share parental leave.

With the right to request flexible working now available to all employees, with the required length of service, and employers still getting to grips with the current complicated shared parental leave regime, this announcement may feel like an administrative burden for some HR departments and smaller businesses.

Osborne has pledged to say that the Government will “work with employers to make sure that we introduce this as simply as possible…it’s an opportunity for employers who want to retain older members of their workforce, who might otherwise choose to leave the workforce permanently.”

Gorvins…Employment Law Specialists

Although these new plans will not come into force for a further 2 years, we want to make sure employers are ready for the change.  If you are still getting to grips with Shared Parental Leave, flexible-working requests, or if you just need general Employment Law advice, Gorvins Employment Law team are here to help. Contact us on 0161 930 5151 or e-mail us direct on

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