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Should parents be able to pass on maternity and paternity leave to grans?

(25 Posts)
GeraldineGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 11-Mar-13 13:46:03

There's a campaign 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 baby for say the second 6 months of its life, they'd be entitled to take time off work to do that.

Good idea? Would this be useful to young parents (they could go back to work a bit earlier but not lose their entitlement)? Given that we are being encouraged to stay in work longer, would it be useful for grandparents?

Movedalot Mon 11-Mar-13 13:49:09

IMO it is a step too far at this time. I would like to see it become far more acceptable for fathers to take time off before this. I don't know any statistics but I suspect not a huge number of men take paternity leave beyond a couple of weeks.

gillybob Mon 11-Mar-13 14:12:25

Oh this is totally ridiculous. What next? Passing it on to your brothers next door neighbour who looks after the kids every third Friday??? Give me a break.

Speaking as a Grandma and also and employer trying to run a very small family business, the situation is already beyond a joke. There is clearly a two tier system with the public sector (as usual) enjoying every bit of benefit to the full and the private sector struggling to keep people in jobs and the wolves from the door.

Nelliemoser Mon 11-Mar-13 14:12:53

No use to me I am retired.
I think this is just being silly though. If the parents have an entitlement they should use it not grandparents. Its for parents to be involved in the early months of the childs life. What a daft idea!

LullyDully Mon 11-Mar-13 14:43:34

Think we do enough!!!!

granjura Mon 11-Mar-13 14:46:56

A big NO from me too. Maternity leave is to allow mum to rest after pregnancy and giving birth, and bond with the baby, and paternity leave to help mum and baby and bond the unit together.

And grand-parents do enough - they are there to support, not to take over sad

JessM Mon 11-Mar-13 15:07:27

I believe it is just being brought in that fathers and mothers can share their maternity leave entitlement. I am not sure about this at all. Both from the family point of view (There may be some nasty men who think looking after a baby is a rest from work...?) Also women who are higher earners in couple will be under increased pressure to return to work early.
I also fail to understand how on earth this is going to work for employers. There is a lot of admin and hassle involved in maternity leave HR admin. But at least women have to produce a medical certificate to certify they have a genuine pregnancy and when the due date falls.
Just how it is going to work when 2 parents both work for different employers - maybe both for small businesses - i have no idea. Glad I do not have to manage the process, that's for sure.
I agree it is tough on small employers and medium sized ones as well (like schools for instance) when they have staff go off for up to a year on maternity leave.
Bringing grandparents into the mix would just create additional chaos for employers I think. At least wait and see how the mums and dads arrangement works out before adding another wild card.

janeainsworth Mon 11-Mar-13 17:22:30

Agree with gillybob and jess about the effects on small businesses.
I had 3 episodes of employees' maternity leave and although the actual maternity pay was reimbursed through PAYE, there was no compensation at all for the disruption to the business and the costs of training someone to do the maternity cover.
Apparently something called Real Time Infirmation is being introduced whereby all employers, however small, have to inform HMRC EVERY TIME they make a payment to an employee, rather than a single Annual Return.
It makes you wonder if the government does actually want small business to exist or not. So glad I'm out of it.

NannaAnna Mon 11-Mar-13 21:11:57

I'm in agreement with Nelliemoser and Granjura
Why on earth would any parent of a newborn want to hand over those precious months to anyone, even a grandparent?
I'm on hand to offer help and support, but I would be heart-broken if my grand-babies did not have their mother providing their full-time care (and dad being very much involved too).

gillybob Mon 11-Mar-13 22:24:43

Yes jaineainsworth you are absolutely right. The "Real Time Information" begins in April. It is for all employers no matter how small and will add yet another burden onto small businesses. We only have 7 people in our business and more and more of my time is spent on all of the red tape and compulsory reporting that the government seems to dream up on a regular basis and less and less of my time is spent actually working for the business. The RTI (real time information) will catch thousands of small businesses out when it starts and you can bet there will be "penalties" just waiting for those who haven't got it sorted in time. I wouldn't wish a small business on my worst enemy. angry

Sel Mon 11-Mar-13 22:46:13

gillybob I do sympathise - I wonder when the country will wake up to the realisation that we need to compete against the rest of the world. However worthy all these ideas are, they cost businesses money which makes them uncompetative. Sadly too they end up actually penalising women, unless they are in the public sector. This is a laughable idea - I'm not sure who dreamt it up.

annodomini Mon 11-Mar-13 22:47:12

Imagine the dilemma facing grandparents who have a number of daughters having babies either simultaneously or in sequence!

grannyactivist Mon 11-Mar-13 23:19:05

In a word, NO!

Eloethan Tue 12-Mar-13 00:29:22

I don't think this is a very good idea - these first few months should remain as a special time for parents and their baby.

gillybob I can appreciate that it's more difficult for small businesses to cope with all the employment regulations but I don't like the trend these days to keep knocking public service employees.

harrigran Tue 12-Mar-13 12:58:14

No, not a good idea. A baby needs a mother in the first year. We know someone who went back to work after 4 months with both children, absolute nightmare for the whole family. Relative in America had to go back to work after 6 weeks, grandmother, in UK, had to take 6 months off work to do childcare until he was old enough for daycare.

gillybob Tue 12-Mar-13 13:30:42

Sadly Eloethan successive governments have caused this "rift" between public sector workers and those in the private sector, especially those of us trying to run (and work in) small businesses. My sister works in the public sector and she can totally appreciate where I am coming from in this. She has 15 days more holidays per year than her counterpart in the private sector, full sick pay for 6 months and then half for another year. She has subsidised travel,canteen and work clothes. Most small businesses ( mine included) operate on an absolute shoestring and are forever robbing Peter to pay Paul meaning that many of the benefits enjoyed by the public sector are few and far between. It shouldn't be the case I know but until someone in government actually realises that by inventing all of these new rules and regulations (Such as the new RTI) all we are doing is making the gap wider and wider and continuing to build on the rift that is already there.

As Sel points out, how on earth are we in the UK meant to compete with the rest of the world when more and more of our time is being wasted filling out bloody forms and making sure you are up to date with whatever regulation or indirect taxation has been dreamt up this week? angry

glassortwo Tue 12-Mar-13 13:46:19

gilly from past experience in a small business, I can wholeheartely agree with you on all points.

annsixty Tue 12-Mar-13 15:15:23

There are obviously huge differences in the different sections of the public sector. When DH worked there, admittedly some years ago, all the subsidies such as travel, canteen, and work clothes certainly didn't come his way. I think it is too easy to make sweeping generalisations

j08 Tue 12-Mar-13 21:52:20

It's an absolute rubbish idea. And I haven't heard of it before.

You sure you didn't think this one up Geraldine? hmm

Galen Tue 12-Mar-13 22:08:18

jong I've PM'd you. I've lost the link to that exercise bike. Can you be darling and redirect me?

Galen Tue 12-Mar-13 22:09:10

JO8 how on earth did I get Jong?

Greatnan Wed 13-Mar-13 03:32:22

Subsidised travel, canteen, etc.? I would have loved to enjoy such perks when I was a teacher/tax inspector. Please, I hope we do not start again on the endless bashing of public sector employees. The jobs have to be done and it is not the employees fault if the respective governments continue to bring in daft laws.
I have also run my own small business and would have found it very hard if any of my four conveyancing assistants had needed maternity leave - fortunately, they were all well past child bearing age. I found women in their late 40's, 50's and 60's were generally hard working, punctual and conscientious.

crostini Thu 14-Mar-13 16:57:05

I think the opportunity for mothers to share their maternity leave with their partners is a very important feminist step. It makes employers face the fact that fathers are also responsible for babies and children and prevents them from making sexist assumptions about the behaviour of women at work.

I think for the same reason that being able to let grandparents take some time off to share the caring is a good thing. It is all grist to the mill of making life easier for working families.

The business argument cuts both ways. Perhaps a business would prefer to lose a valuable mum for just 6 months?

closetgran Thu 14-Mar-13 17:00:42

crostini, I agree. I also think there is an important point here about grandparents who look after their grandchildren full-time, as is the case with a friend of mine whose daughter has died. Although my friend works, she doesn't have the same entitlements to leave a parent would. Flexible working for all would make a huge difference to her - which is what I understand this is really about. (It would also help people caring for elderly parents, incidentally.)

gillybob Fri 15-Mar-13 08:57:51

The business argument definitely does not cut both ways crostini have you tried running a business where staff are forever taking time off for hospital appointments, children's dental appointments, school plays, maternity leave, paternity leave etc. I could go on and on.

For one thing other members of staff get seriously pooped off by the amount of time off taken by young parents. Our business is a highly skilled Electrical Engineering business . We undertake extremely complex installations that are planned for months in advance. I can't just ring the job centre and ask for a temporary software or electrical engineer there just aren't any to get and being that we are what is known as a micro business (7 staff) having a man or woman off on extended leave for 6 months or more can seriously effect the business as a whole.

Likewise closetgran I sympathise with your friends situation I really do it must be really hard for her but my business (and thousands like it) cannot operate on " flexi time". We have to work when our customers want us not when an employee decides they want to attend.