Labelled by some parts of the media as "Granny Leave", David Cameron has stated that he is considering allowing grandparents statutory rights to care for their grandchildren.
It is well known that many grandparents play a vital role in providing family support. However with many still working, especially after the abolition of the default retirement age, the Government appears to recognise that it would be beneficial to allow them some time off work for this purpose.
The recent introduction of Shared Parental Leave means that eligible partners qualify to share up to 50 weeks of Shared Parental Leave and 37 weeks of Shared Parental Pay during their child's first year.
However before grandparents get too excited, it is understood that the Government is only looking at the issue of granting grandparents "Parental Leave". This is different from Shared Parental Leave. Currently a parent can take a total of up to 18 weeks unpaid Parental Leave up until a child's 18th birthday. The employee requires to have been employed for more than 1 year and is entitled to take up to 4 weeks leave per child each year subject to this cap. The current rules provide that only a parent or someone with legal parental responsibilities can qualify.
The Government's proposal fall short of the suggestion made by the Conservative think-tank "Bright Blue" which recommended last year that Shared Parental Leave should be extended to working grandparents. However this more dramatic reform would not be appealing to most employers.
There would be far less resistance to grandparents being allowed to take unpaid Parental Leave given the Government's majority in the House of Commons and cross party support.
It would also bolster David Cameron's statement in the Commons that "the right to flexible working has been championed by this Government".