Grandparents Plus, Save The Children and The Family & Childcare Trust have recently published results of a survey they jointly commissioned.  Called ‘Time To Care: Generation Generosity Under Pressure‘ the survey looked at grandparents and choices and found, amongst other things, that:

  • 1.9 million grandparents have given up a job, reduced their hours or taken time off work to look after their grandchildren
  • Grandparents have made financial contributions of £8 billion towards the needs of their grandchildren in the past year
  • 64% of grandparents who look after their grandchildren would support an entitlement to unpaid leave from work to care for a sick grandchild
  • 56% would support unpaid leave to help parents with childcare

The report highlights that, with the increasing trend for workers to stay in the workforce for longer until they are older, the pool of available child-carers within families is shrinking.  Whilst some enlightened employers, such as Asda with their Benidorm Leave and Grandparents Leave, have already cottoned on to this, it looks as though the successful employers of the future will be those who draft policies to support workers in this area, making them an employer of choice.

As a result of the the newly amended flexible working regulations, employers may find themselves receiving requests for flexible working from grandparents wanting to change their working hours or patterns to enable them to take on their child caring role.  Whilst the employer has the ability to say ‘no’ (and there are 8  business reasons for doing so), clearly employers might want to consider these requests carefully in terms of the message sent out to the workforce.

I would be really interested to hear from anyone who has allowed flexible working to somebody on the grounds of being a grandparent or put in place other ‘grandparents’ rights.’