Should parents be able to pass on their parental leave entitlement to grandparents?

(45 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 11-Mar-13 16:43:27


There's a bit of a campaign going on to change the law, so that parents can pass on some of their parental leave to grandparents.

So, if grandparents wanted to look after a new grandchild for say the second six months of his or her life, they'd be entitled to take time off from their workplace to do that.

Good idea?

Would you find this useful? And, given that we are all being encouraged to stay in work longer, would it be useful for grandparents?

Do please let us know your thoughts here. And you'd be most welcome to join the Gransnet discussion about it, too!

BackforGood Mon 11-Mar-13 16:46:27

I don't think so, no - where would it end ? Any employee taking time off, saying it is to care for their niece or nephew / Great Niece / should you allow God Children ? / What about Gaurdians ? Surely you only volunteer to look after a relative's child if you are available, I can't see Grandparents who are still at work doing this, personally.

Kewcumber Mon 11-Mar-13 16:50:18

I'm anti at this stage - we haven't yet seen how flexibility between parents will work in practice yet. With parents it is clearly a good idea which we must make work. The same for grandparents isn't so clear - I might be persuaded otherwise if I see both parents taking time out to be with their child and it working well. I can see the admin burden on small firms getting a bit overwhelming tbh.

TheSeniorWrangler Mon 11-Mar-13 17:03:31

Nope, i think its a daft idea.

CwtchesAndCuddles Mon 11-Mar-13 17:12:08

No - I think it is a very bad idea.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 11-Mar-13 17:19:45

Just having a look at this thread now.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 11-Mar-13 17:20:29

oops sorry, ignore me, wrong thread!

ThreeWheelsGood Mon 11-Mar-13 17:31:04

This is a great idea. My dh and I already earn more than our respective parents, but we want our baby to be looked after by us or family for as long as possible (rather than nursery, can't afford childminder/nanny). So we'd love for - say - my mum to take some of my maternity leave.

Tee2072 Mon 11-Mar-13 17:34:49

Anyone else wondering what we're missing elsewhere on site based on Justine's post?

I don't like this idea. But then I don't like the split between parents idea either, since, typically, a man makes more than a woman and therefore I feel the 'split it' idea is a bone thrown, not an actual achievable goal.

This feels a bit the same.

yousankmybattleship Mon 11-Mar-13 17:36:07

No. Parents need to be parents - that isn't something can be passed on. You may lose earnings when your baby is tiny, but that is part of becoming a parent.

starshaker Mon 11-Mar-13 17:38:15

My mum got 2 weeks paid leave when i had the twins. Needed to fill lots of forms and stuff but because i was on my own the paternity leave was given to her

Cherrybright Mon 11-Mar-13 17:48:45

I don't think that its a good idea, like yousank said parents need to be parents.

No, I don't think it's a good idea. Either use your parental leave or forfeit it.

The line needs to be drawn somewhere and, IMO, the clue is in the name: Parental leave.

janey68 Mon 11-Mar-13 19:03:19

Two people decide to have a child: the parents, and it should be their responsibility to make decisions about leave and childcare. I think the split leave between mum and dad is a fabulous idea and long overdue- both parents are equally capable of caring for their child. But to start involving extended family is daft. I am all for close family relationships and lots of love between grandparents and grandkids but this proposal sounds like an abdication of parental responsibility. Let the grandparents do what they choose, and are available to do.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 11-Mar-13 19:06:46

It sounds daft to me. Parents have enough leave to do it between them if they want to.

I'm all for grandparent support, but they are grandparents, not parents, and they shouldn't have this kind of pressure put on them, which I think it would be if it were to become law. I think it could also lead to pressure from women's employers as they might be led to thinking that full maternity entitlement doesn't need to be taken.

NatashaBee Mon 11-Mar-13 19:09:44

I think it's a good idea in principle - any help offered to allow family to care for a child is good. However, i think they should let the recent changes to allow both parents to share the childcare settle down first, before making further changes - and what about those people who can't ask their parents to take childcare leave? They're still paying extortionate nursery fees, that issue affects far more people than this proposed change would.

Flisspaps Mon 11-Mar-13 19:20:09

One word, no.

annh Mon 11-Mar-13 19:35:50

Whose campaign is this? Is this real?! Why stop at grandparents? Where babies have much older siblings, or more likely step- or half-siblings, why not allow them to take some of the leave as well? And what about grandparents who really don't want to look after their grandchild but feel pressurised to do so because they are now allowed to take time off work?

squeakytoy Mon 11-Mar-13 20:12:41

crazy idea!

MammaTJ Mon 11-Mar-13 20:28:59

I don't think my DCs GPs would want to, and even those who would, would not need it as they are retired.

xMinerva Mon 11-Mar-13 20:53:16

I think it could be very helpful to a single working parent who needs to be back at work to support their family being the only earner.

Not sure if it would work though. What if single parent (or indeed both parents) don't have any grandparents around? Would they be able to pass it onto a sister/brother/god parent etc etc.

It is a good idea in theory, don't think it will work in reality.

janey68 Mon 11-Mar-13 21:16:52

I also think an unintended consequence of this idea would
Be to erode fathers rights and set them back. The chance for leave to be split- eg mum taking first 6 months and then dad the next 6 has been hard fought. If we had a situation where suddenly granny can take the second 6 months instead of dad, I think we'd soon
See dads being pressured into keeping on working
because Grannys job is seen as less important. It's this sort of
Thinking which keeps women down and stops them
Being seen as equal in the workplace and dads being equal in the home. And as others have said, where do you draw the line? Some
parents might not be geographically or emotionally close to the grandparents but might have a close friend or godparent who they would prefer looking after the child. Would they be given that right?

And ultimately it doesn't change the fact that if parents work they will need to sort out childcare... Whether its mum
Taking a whole year off, or mum having 6 months and then dad having 6, or mum having 6 and then granny having 6, the parents will need to find a childminder or nursery when the leave is up. It all seems to point to greater numbers of people having their career disrupted. I took maternity leaves when I had MY children... I can't see my boss being thrilled if in ten years time I take a whole load of granny leave.

ceeveebee Mon 11-Mar-13 21:34:30

I agree with janey. I think it may mean that many men would pass over their rights to parental leave so that DM/MIL could have it instead. However I think in the case of a lone parent, it could be beneficial.

If they want to encourage women to work, Government needs to find ways of reducing the cost of childcare which is prohibitive for many families - for my twins to be in full time nursery care would cost £42,000 p.a. round here and would come out of our net salaries so need to earn £70-£80k just for that - ridiculous and unaffordable for most

Jcee Mon 11-Mar-13 21:40:16

Really? How daft! Surely parental leave should be just that...

Astley Mon 11-Mar-13 21:49:23

No. Silly idea. These things would never end, we'd end up with our neighbours, second cousins dog taking parental leave.

WorriedTeenMum Mon 11-Mar-13 21:55:42

I can see that there might be exceptional circumstances where such a scheme might be appropriate for example the death or serious illness of one parent.

One risk I could see with this is if the GP has three adult children all of whom have three children then potentially GP will be taking nine lots of GP leave.

Ridersofthestorm Mon 11-Mar-13 21:58:58

No way!! An absolutely ridiculous idea

RubyrooUK Mon 11-Mar-13 22:35:38

No I don't think this idea should be a priority for the government to consider at this point in time.

If grandparents have already benefitted from their own parental leave, then have multiple children who have grandchildren, you could have the same person taking lots of instances of this style of "parental leave" unless it was capped in some way.

I am not sure how many grandfathers would take this opportunity up in the near future - without slurring a generation, neither my dad, FIL or step dad ever changed a nappy. So really it means grandmothers. I think then it would possibly just add to the issues that already exist about employing women, as now slightly older women would be seen as potentials for taking this sort of leave and seen as less of a good prospective hire. Perhaps that is cynical but I don't feel it would help much.

I just think it sounds like a very difficult system to administrate and I'm not sure it would benefit enough people to make a massive difference. Assisting parents with childcare or childcare costs would be more important to me.

FannyFifer Mon 11-Mar-13 22:43:32


quoteunquote Mon 11-Mar-13 23:23:10

No, it is a terrible idea, and could never work,

any small business would not be able to cope if a grandparent continually, took time off,

one of the guys that works for me has six children, they have only got to a have a couple of children each and we would never see him again,

it would just end up as another reason for the older working generation to get sidelined in selection process, so not a great move for them.

sleepyhead Mon 11-Mar-13 23:28:10

I think it could be considered as an option for some sort of transferable leave to put single parents on the same footing as couples, but otherwise no.

slightlysoupstained Mon 11-Mar-13 23:56:22

Agree with other comments, think it would be a step backwards.

janey68 Tue 12-Mar-13 07:47:14

There are some exceptional circumstances- eg death of one parent- where I can see this makes sense. But I would be very wary of seeing it as a panacea for single parents generally for the reasons above: it would backfire and we'd see more feckless dads thinking they can father a child and bugger off in the first year of its life because granny will step in. Remember this isn't about people who have been single parents for years- its about the 12 months following birth. Why shouldn't the father be treated as equal and expected to share some of the parental leave with the mum? Even if the couple decide to split in the early days, it doesn't preclude the father taking responsibility. And surely more dads taking this leave would reduce the number of absent fathers who lose all contact with their kids (because a frightening number do). I feel sure it would be harder for a dad to do that if he's had 6 months of bonding- whereas if the mum and then granny have taken care of the first year of life, the separated father probably feels pretty redundant right from the start

Very bad idea the more I ponder it. It just erodes the parental role. Grandparents should be exactly that: grandparents, not surrogate mums and dads

annh Tue 12-Mar-13 09:33:01

Janey I don't think it matters how many people potentially can take parental leave, if a father is not interested in taking his share of the leave no-one can force him to do so so I don't think restricting it to just the parents is necessarily going to make a father participate. Not that that is a reason for extending it beyond parents!

janey68 Tue 12-Mar-13 09:42:35

Oh I agree if a father is determined to not be involved then he won't be. But I think it's important that societal expectations are that he should be. He's the parent. The extended family aren't. And I do think spending 6 months with his child would make it less likely for fathers to lose contact

milk Tue 12-Mar-13 09:49:06

Great idea smile

MOSagain Tue 12-Mar-13 12:14:06

I don't think it will ever happen. Look how long it took for fathers to be allowed paternity leave

NightmareSpoon Tue 12-Mar-13 12:25:14

I think it's a bad idea because biologically there's only so many children a couple can have - and in reality the no of children working parents can have is usually limited by childcare costs. Therefore there's only so much maternity leave they can take.

But grandparents can have endless amounts of grandchildren.

If one set of grandparents had 4 kids and they all went on to have 4 kids - that's 16 grandchildren. Now imagine if the grandmother or grandfather took 6 months leave with each of those grandchildren. It would be chaos for their workplace!

Obvs I'm exaggerating for effect here, but you get my point.

Helpexcel Tue 12-Mar-13 13:25:02

No. It's ridiculous. A grandparent could miss years of work if they have lots of grandchildren.
How can they prove the grandchildren are theirs?
Parental leave is an additional right for those in work with children under 5 (or older under various circumstances). That should be used if needbe by the parents.
Mothers and older people often get a bad press in the workplace and so employers could potentially not employ either for fear of this.

That said, just saw a poster who mentioned she was on her own with twins - perhaps in exceptional circumstances, a short time may be feasible but 6 months - no.

It's daft & not that useful. So what happens if a gp has 4 children who have offspring in quick succession? How would that work for their employers?

If it is limited, isn't it unfair on the gp other DCs who may have children later?

Parents are parents.

EuroShaggleton Tue 12-Mar-13 14:57:04

I'm pretty ambivilent about this as a concept but think the focus should be on making parental leave rights as equal as possible and getting me/employers to accept this. That is far more important than this, IMHO.

Xiaoxiong Tue 12-Mar-13 15:04:02

I think it's a bad idea too. The only way my DH really started to pull his weight was when he took over as a SAHD for three months when I went back to work FT when DS was 6 months old. I think equal parental leave is so important. Grandparents are great but can never replace parents themselves.

I also think there will be parents in certain workplaces who will feel pressured to sign some or all of their leave over to grandparents, either because they feel under threat in their job, feel the need to prove their commitment to their employer, or there's just a workaholic culture. If that leave must be taken or be lost there's more of an incentive to swim against those currents.

BionicEmu Tue 12-Mar-13 15:05:09

I agree with the majority, it's a stupid idea for all the reasons already stated - number of grandchildren, erosion of existing hard-won rights etc.

IMHO the only thing that will help working families is cheaper childcare. Even if my mother took 6 months off when I went back to work, that's only 6 months anyway; the childcare issue is still there, just delayed for 6 months. I would also be worried that my mother felt that because she could then she should. Awful situation for her as it's DH & I who have had the children, my mother had no say in it at all.

I am rather bitter at this issue at the moment though - DH & I have just done the sums as we've just had DC2, & we can't afford for me to go back to work, I would actually be making a net loss of approx £15 a day.

AmandaPayne Tue 12-Mar-13 15:13:27

I'm not in favour TBH.

Parents being able to share their leave is so important I think it has to be made to work.

But I think grandparents is too far. For a lot of reasons, most importantly:

-that the impact on business is potentially so much greater. Few women have four children in four years, but it is more possible at the grandparent level. Statistically a lot of people will have more grandchildren than children;

- it assumes that the relationship of grandparent is important enough to be elevated to quasi-parent status, but not other relationships like aunts, uncles, step parents, etc;

- the chain of causation to prove you are the grandparent is extra steps and documents, and the more people leave can be shared between, the greater the potential for people secretly double-claiming (two off at once) or the greater the burden on employers to liaise with lots of different employers as to who is off and back when;

- I don't see that it helps single parents that much, what would help them is better mat pay and, if people were able to take time off, a much bigger pool from whom that pool could be taken.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 14-Mar-13 10:39:01

I agree with Janey. DH would have loved to share my ML but we had DCs before it was an option. I can just see him going to his employer if we had another DC and them saying "can't your mum do it?" as Tee says, in general men earn more than women even in a marriage (though DH and I earn the same) - I'm sure the difference would be even more pronounced between different generations.

Emu, can you manage that level of loss until DC1 goes to school/gets some free hours at age of 3?

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