Family Law News Edinburgh

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Grandparents lack support in caring role

A new report has shown that 60,000 grandparents - 9,000 per year or 25 every day – have dropped out of the labour market to bring up their grandchildren only to face a lack of recognition and support from Government.

The study, by charity Grandparents Plus, shows how almost half of grandparents and other family (kinship) carers who were previously working gave up their jobs to care for children, many of whom have emotional difficulties and would be in local authority care had their relative not stepped in. The carers have to rely on benefits as most do not receive any allowances from their local authority.

The report shows too how, unlike new parents or adoptive parents, working age grandparents and family carers are not entitled to paid leave from work when children move in and most can’t even take unpaid parental leave. The majority of these carers are older working age women who find it impossible to get back into work and are tipped into poverty as a result.

Grandparents Plus is calling on the Government, Children’s Services and employers to take action to reduce the number of grandparents and kinship carers who are forced to give up work when they take on the care of a child. They want to see:

  • Entitlement for kinship carers to take paid leave when they take on full-time care of a child.
  • Extension of unpaid parental leave to kinship carers up to the child’s 18th birthday.
  • Transferable maternity leave if the mother or father is unable to look after a baby.
  • The right to request flexible working extended to all workers.
  • Local authorities to fully implement the Statutory Guidance on Family and Friends Care and to respect their obligations to assess carers and in many cases pay financial allowances.
  • The introduction of a National Financial Allowance for kinship carers who look after a child for more than 28 days.


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