The UK population is now living longer and working well into what used to be retirement age, that coupled with a 44% increase in childcare costs since 2010 has meant that many grandparents are now juggling work with looking after grandchildren.

There are around seven million UK grandparents that are involved with the childcare of their grandchildren, and at present, they have no right under UK employment law to paid or unpaid leave to spend time with or care for their grandchildren in their capacity as grandparents.

In 2015 a government survey found that nearly two million grandparents had sacrificed their jobs, reduced their hours or taken time off work to help with childcare commitments for their families.

Grandparent day-care is clearly a growing trend, and rightly so, it has many benefits for the family, workplace, and the economy.

With those benefits in mind, the Government announced, in 2016, a consultation into whether Shared Parental Leave should be extended to include grandparents. Unfortunately, this is no closer to being implemented.

Family friendly campaign groups and even some unions have been lobbying for more workplace rights for grandparents for many years. Some forward-thinking companies have even started to include grandparent policies in their employment handbooks.

Saga, for example, now provide a week of paid leave to new grandparents to allow them to help their children with their childcare responsibilities, they have also opened an onsite nursery where grandparents are encouraged to bring their grandchildren.

While big corporations have big budgets to run these types of initiatives, small businesses can also play their part in supporting the grandparents in your workplace.

The UK celebrated national Grandparents day on 2nd October and that got us thinking about how smaller businesses could play their part in supporting grandads and grandmas in the workplace . . . . .

  1. Listen to and be understanding of grandparents in your workforce if they have caring responsibilities
  2. Encourage flexible working either in terms of hours worked or allowing more hybrid working
  3. Think about offering a day’s ‘grandparent’ leave for use in emergencies that involve their family childcare arrangements breaking down.
  4. Remember happy, less stressed, employees are more productive


For further guidance on this or other workplace issues speak to our HR Business Partner Lynn Bradley on 01484 841776 or send her an email – [email protected]