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Working grandparents can take time off for childcare

by on October 5, 2015

A number of papers (eg here in The Guardian) have carried the announcement by the Government that grandparents who work will be allowed to share parental leave and pay for looking after a grandchild.  We blogged about this before when we commented on how some papers reported the idea as ‘Granny leave’, thus reproducing gendered assumptions about childcare across the lifespan. And indeed The Mirror refers to it in these terms in its latest coverage, under the headline ‘Childcare reforms could see grandparents receive £140-a-week ‘Granny leave’ as Osborne pinches Labour proposal’.

Yes, the idea was originally from Labour’s manifesto but the policy has been claimed by the Tories as part of their “This is a modern Conservative policy that backs working families and gives them the freedom to choose what will work best for them” rhetoric. Will that mean that mothers and grandmothers will become the nominated parent and grandparent respectively or will we see less gendering around childcare?

Currently parents share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of parental leave pay, currently £139.58 a week or 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever is lower. These rights will be extended from parents to one nominated working grandparent.

As ever, an interesting selection of reader comments:

‘”Working grandparents” is what jumped out at me. People today are marrying later and having children later in life than ever before. How old are these grandparents? Why are they still working? Looking at the other comments so far, I have little company in seeing the incongruity of “working grandparents”. People are perhaps resigned to the inevitability of “work ’till you drop”.’

And the reason he wants to introduce this, is because increasingly, both parents are having to work full time just to make ends meet, and they cannot afford childcare‘.

And the more explicitly ironic:

‘This is a really good idea, particularly as the state moves the pension age towards 80! And pensions for those not in Parliament or with wealthy parents, get more difficult to obtain’.

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