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Shared parental leave to be extended to grandparents

We blogged earlier this year about the new shared parental leave (SPL) scheme which allows parents to choose how to share their time off work after a child is born – with a pool of 50 weeks’ leave (and 37 weeks’ pay) which can be shared between the child’s parents.

The scheme has only been active since April 2015, but at the weekend the Chancellor George Osborne announced that it will be extended to cover a child’s grandparents as well as their parents.

Under the proposals, the number of weeks in the ‘pool’ will remain at 50 weeks’ leave and 37 weeks’ pay (the lower of £139.58 or 90% of average weekly earnings), but greater flexibility will be provided in allowing a nominated working grandparent to share some (or all) of the weeks of leave.

Mr Osborne has said that the extension of the scheme will allow working parents to return to work more quickly by giving them the option of sharing part of their leave entitlement with one of their parents, while also benefitting single parents who will now be able to share their entitlement and return to work.

He also addressed criticism of the complexity of the SPL scheme, stating that “we will work with employers to make sure that we introduce this as simply as possible.”

The exact mechanics of the extension of SPL are yet to be finalised, with the Government proposing to consult on changes in early 2016 with the changes being made by 2018.

We will provide a further update when the consultation is published early next year.

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