Santander has become the first employer to extend its Shared Parental Leave scheme to include grandparents.
Its scheme will allow new parents to share their parental leave with their parents as well as their partners.
Last October the Government announced plans to consult on extending SPL to grandparents, with the aim of implementing the policy by 2018. There has been some concern expressed, however, that extending shared parental leave could dilute the original purpose of SPL – to encourage and enable dads to share childcare more equally.
Santander has acted independently of the consultation and says extending shared parental leave to grandparents “reflects the fact that many parents call on the support of their wider family to help with childcare, but that this has to be balanced with the work commitments of those family members”.
It says its scheme “will enable employees to exercise a greater degree of choice and control over their parental leave and childcare arrangements”. Under the scheme, the maternity leaver can share their Shared Parental Leave with either their partner or their parent.
Santander is also introducing an enhancement to its maternity pay that will entitle employees to 16 weeks of full pay – a provision which will also be matched for grandparents and partners who take Shared Parental Leave.