19/08/2014 07:21 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Grandparents Who Look After Children To Get New Rights And Paid Leave


Grandparents who look after children whose parents have died, fallen ill or who are unable to provide care could get parental rights to paid leave, according to David Cameron.

The Prime Minister has suggested his party may consider a manifesto which would give grandparents who are guardians of children the same rights as parents.

This would give grandparents the same rights as adoptive parents, who, from next year, will be entitled to nine months of paid leave.

Mr Cameron said that grandparents currently get a 'raw deal'.

"You do see, sometimes, grandparents stepping in and effectively bring up children, and of course under the rules they don't get quite the same rights as others," he said.

"What you are saying is that if you can extend to adoptive parents things that birth parents have in terms of rights, couldn't you do that for grandparents?

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"That is something I am very happy to look at in terms of the manifesto, and we have got some Conservative MPs here who have got some responsibility for giving me ideas, so I am sure they will take note of it."

It is estimated that more than 200,000 grandparents become their grandchildren's carers due to parents dying, becoming ill or because of drug and alcohol abuse.

According to experts, some grandparents are unwilling to adopt or foster children because they don't want to 'paint the parent out of the picture'.

Campaigners want paid parental leave to be extended to grandparents, with four to six weeks of unpaid leave during any 'crisis' periods where children are settling in.

Speaking about Mr Cameron's comments, Sam Smethers, chief executive of the charity Grandparents Plus said: "The vast majority of those children will have better outcomes than they would have [had they] gone into the care system.

"We know of quite a lot of families where, over a period, and it can be a long period of time, there is reunification and parents do come back into a child's life. It can mean that a relationship that could have been severed may be repaired."

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