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Grandparents' Rights: Plans To Offer Paid Leave

Posted on Tuesday 19th August 2014 by Neil Andrews

First there was maternity leave. Then paternity leave. Now it could be the turn of grandparents to get paid time off to look after the children.Neil Andrews - Partner, Coles Miller

It’s not law yet but smart employers would do well to start thinking well in advance about how they manage the issue.

Collectively Britain has more than 1.9 million grandparents providing more than £7 billion worth of child care.

Look around any workplace and you may well find a grandparent who occasionally needs to help with the babysitting.

And while they might not all need paid leave – or be entitled to it at this time – there are pitfalls that could catch out employers right now under existing legislation.

  • Discrimination – employers cannot discriminate on grounds of age. They cannot treat an employee less favourably because they are older (or younger)
  • Flexible working – earlier this year the government gave all employees the right to ask to work flexibly.

All the publicity surrounding David Cameron’s plan to grant grandparents the right to paid leave is likely to highlight employee awareness of flexible working and potential discrimination.

Some employers are already offering grandparents unpaid time off so they can help the family cope with the arrival of a new baby.

Other employers may be aware of potential issues but are unsure how to go about dealing with them, worried that they might unwittingly set unforeseen precedents.

Coles Miller’s employment law team can help employers to ensure their HR strategies are legally compliant and fair for all concerned.

And our family lawyers can provide help and advice to grandparents forced by circumstances to play a full-time role in caring for their grandchildren.

For more information about employment law, contact Neil Andrews, 01202 338822 or for help with family law, please contact our family team on 01202 673011.

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