Do grandparents have any right to paid or unpaid leave to spend time with their grandchildren?
Grandparents have no right under UK employment law to paid or unpaid leave to spend time with their grandchildren in their capacity as grandparents.
Grandparents may have rights to ordinary parental leave in very limited circumstances. The right to ordinary parental leave is exercisable by an employee who has one year's continuous employment with the employer and has, or expects to have, formal parental responsibility for a child. Grandparents can acquire parental responsibility either by adopting a child or by a residence order being made in favour of them. However, the cases in which this is likely to happen will be rare. If parental responsibility for a child is acquired by the grandparents, they will be entitled to take ordinary parental leave for the purpose of caring for that child. The period of ordinary parental leave is 18 weeks for each child, which must be exercised before the child's 18th birthday.
Employees who have worked for their employer for at least 26 weeks can make a statutory request for flexible working arrangements. A grandparent could request flexible working arrangements to enable them to spend time with grandchildren, without the need to be their legal guardian.
Grandparents have no entitlement to take either paternity leave or adoption leave.
The Government had said that it intended to extend the right to take shared parental leave and pay to grandparents by 2018. A consultation on the extension was expected in May 2016. However, on 7 November 2017, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy confirmed to XpertHR that there are no imminent plans to extend shared parental leave and pay to working grandparents.