The UK government last week made an unprecedented move to allow working grandparents to take time off and share parental leave pay to help care for their grandchildren. The plan would extend the current system, meaning that families will be allowed to split statutory shared parental pay – which is around $300 AUD a week or 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.
The Conservatives believe the policy will particularly benefit single mothers who can have support from grandparents and give them something back, plus help them get back to work sooner.
More than half of mothers rely on grandparents for childcare when they first return to work after having a baby.
A recent report by the Australian Institute of Family Studies has found that baby boomer grandparents are caring for 40% of babies, toddlers and preschoolers whose parents work. Currently, Human Services offers grandparents with primary care of their grandchild, extra help with child care fees through the Grandparent Child Care Benefit, however it doesn’t assist grandparents (and therefore their families) who are still working who need to take time off to care for their grandchildren.
Sounds to us like a great opportunity for corporate Australia to lead the way:
- Talent retention strategy
- Another group engaged in flexible work practices
- Lowering the cost of childcare for families in the first year
- Recognition of the valuable contribution carers make to our society