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Grandparents set to share parental leave and pay

1 Mar 2016

2 minute read

The role that grandparents play in providing care for their grandchildren is being officially recognised, as new proposals are set to allow working grandparents to benefit from Shared Parental Leave and Pay.

Currently, the Shared Parental Leave (SPL) rules only allow eligible mothers, fathers, partners and those adopting to take SPL and Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) following the arrival of their baby.

Introduced in April 2015, SPL allows working mothers to end their Statutory Maternity Leave (SML) and Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) early. They can then share the equivalent of the untaken leave and pay with their partner instead, in the form of SPL and ShPP. If introduced, the option to share the available SPL and ShPP with the child’s grandparents will allow some parents to return to work more quickly. It is also hoped that by making Shared Parental Leave and Pay available to grandparents, many older workers will opt to remain in employment, rather than leaving their jobs to help look after their grandchildren.

However, ShPP and SPL are only available where the child is under the age of one, so those who care for toddlers and school-age children will not benefit.

SPL: At a glance

  • To qualify for this shared leave, employees must satisfy the ‘continuity of employment’ test, whereby the parent taking the leave must have been employed before the start of the pregnancy.
  • Employers must generally be given at least eight weeks’ notice before any period of SPL begins.
  • Eligible parents are able to share up to 37 weeks’ pay and 50 weeks’ leave. The amount available is determined by the mother’s unused SML and SMP entitlements.
  • ShPP is currently paid at £139.58 a week or 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.
  • Employers can recover the majority of the costs of ShPP on the same basis as Statutory Maternity and Paternity Pay is recoverable.
  • Any SPL that is available to new parents must be taken in the first year of the child’s life.
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