The right for fathers to share their wife or partner’s maternity leave became a reality under the coalition government and parents can now share up to 50 weeks leave and 37 weeks’ pay between them in any combination they wish. Is the Conservative government about to take this a step further by extending the right to parental leave to grandparents?
According to the Telegraph, David Cameron has said that he is happy to “look at” Labour’s pre-election plans for “granny leave”, giving grandparents up to 18 transferable weeks of unpaid parental leave.
At Prime Minister’s Questions, following comments by Harriet Harman, Labour’s interim deputy leader, that grandparents are a much needed source of childcare support but are increasingly themselves working as opposed to being retired, she put the direct question to the Prime Minster:
“Will the Prime Minister agree to look at how we can help grandparents get flexibility at work by allowing them to share parental leave?”
Mr Cameron replied: “I am certainly happy to look at that because the right to request flexible working has been championed by this Government.” This is in line with Bright Blue, a Conservative think that all working grandparents should be able to have any of the 50 transferable weeks of new shared parental leave transferred to them. The Think Tank has also suggested that working mothers who take time off to have children should get more statutory maternity pay than stay at home mothers who have not worked as long. Bold comments by the Conservatives; whether or not they are affected remains to be seen.