Grandparents ‘should be allowed unpaid leave’ to look after grandchildren

 

Agency
Tuesday 17 December 2013 01:03 GMT
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Grandparents should be entitled to take unpaid leave from work because of the growing numbers looking after their grandchildren, a new report is urging
Grandparents should be entitled to take unpaid leave from work because of the growing numbers looking after their grandchildren, a new report is urging (PA)

Grandparents should be entitled to take unpaid leave from work because of the growing numbers looking after their grandchildren, a new report has urged.

Research for the TUC showed that almost three out of five grandparents provided regular childcare, mainly so the child’s parents could work without having to pay costly nursery fees.

With record numbers of people now working into their late 60s, many are now taking on childcare responsibilities for a second time in their lives, said the report.

Working grandparents are more likely to look after their grandchildren than those who have retired, the study found.

Some grandparents said they had been refused time off by their employer or did not feel they could ask.

The survey of 4,000 grandparents and a similar number of parents found that the level of unpaid, informal childcare was saving families thousands of pounds a year, said the TUC.

General Secretary Frances O'Grady said: "The informal childcare that millions of grandparents regularly provide is one of the most important and unheralded forms of care in Britain today.

"It's important that public policy catches up with the needs of working grandparents and their families. A new right to unpaid leave would be a great way to get more working grandparents involved in childcare, and at very little cost to an employer."

A Department of Business spokesman said: "The Government recognises the valuable role that grandparents play in supporting parents with childcare. This is why we're extending the right to request flexible working to all employees from April 2014.

"Making flexible working available to all will not just benefit grandparents but allow the wider family to help out with child-caring responsibilities. It will give all employees the opportunity to better balance work with their personal life."

PA

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