Shared parental leave to be extended to grandparents

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Shared parental leave will be extended to grandparents, the government has announced

The total of 50 weeks of leave will not be extended, but parents will be able to share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of parental leave pay, currently £139.58 a week or 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever is lower, with a nominated working grandparent.

The plan was announced by chancellor George Osborne as the Conservative conference began in Manchester. He said it was hoped this would allow working parents to return to work more quickly, with The Conservatives believing the policy will particularly benefit single mothers, who cannot currently choose to share parental leave.

He said: "Research shows two million grandparents have either given up a job, reduced their hours or taken time off work to look after their grandchildren.

"Allowing them instead to share leave with their children will keep thousands more in the workplace, which is good for our economy."

Labour's Harriet Harman had proposed a similar policy in a women’s manifesto ahead of the general election.

Other key developments from the first day of the Conservative conference included:

- an announcement that shares in Lloyds Bank worth £2bn will be sold to private investors next spring

  • a new body to plan infrastructure projects, chaired by former Labour transport secretary Lord Adonis, has been announced
  • David Cameron rejected an offer from Unite union leader Len McCluskey to accept higher strike ballot thresholds in return for allowing online voting, saying such a move would be open to fraud

- He also rejected calls to rethink cuts to tax credits, claiming they were part of a “bigger picture” of increased wages and lower income tax

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