The Chancellor, George Osborne, has announced that working grandparents are to be given a new legal right to take time off to help care for their grandchildren in an extension of the system of flexible parental leave.
The move is designed to encourage more people to stay in the workplace for longer, boosting the economy, rather than having to decide to give up their jobs if they want to support their families in the first year of a grandchild’s life.
It will also allow more working parents to return to work more quickly, should they wish to, since they will have the option of sharing part of their parental leave entitlement with one of their parents.
Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, said:
“The Government has recognised the need to improve parents’ access to childcare to help people stay in work and maintain economic recovery. However, attention should also be given to supporting those in work caring for a spouse or parent with dementia.
“In the UK alone, there are 670,000 carers for people with dementia. An aging population and further cuts to social care are combining to create a perfect storm which could lead to tens of thousands of working people forced to give up their jobs to look after elderly relatives in future.”