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‘Grandparental leave’ will hit businesses with more red-tape, claims lawyer

Extension of shared parental leave to include grandparents will put pressure on businesses

19 May 2016

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UK businesses will be hit by workplace disruption if new legislation allowing parental leave to be shared amongst grandparents and parents comes into force, according to EMW.

A consultation paper, set to be published this month, announces the extension of shared parental leave and sets out the guidelines for businesses when leave is shared between parents and grandparents.

Although early indications suggest a relatively low take-up of shared parental leave, the extension to grandparents could see more widespread usage.

EMW says that the productivity of businesses could be eroded as the proportion of a workforce able to take leave increases by as much as 50 per cent.

With the average age of first time grandparents now 47 and the increasing state pension age, many businesses face a potential 20-year window during which an employee may take leave.

The commercial law firm expects SMEs to be more adversely impacted by the proposed changes.

Jon Taylor, principal at the firm, said: 'While the government's attempts to increase flexibility for parents looking to return to work should be applauded, it must ensure that red tape is kept to a minimum and that the rules do not place businesses under pressure.'

The firm adds that the changes will lead to businesses facing increasing difficulty in planning for cover as they may not always be aware of a pregnancy in the family of an employee.

Although businesses are used to forward planning for employees taking parental leave, EMW said there was concern that grandparents may try to take leave at shorter notice.

The extension of shared parental leave is the latest in a series of legislative changes which pose further challenges to businesses, such as an increased national living wage, the apprenticeship levy, and equal pay disclosures.

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