Labour has launched its manifesto for women, setting out how Labour will enable women to fulfil their potential, as part of a plan to raise living standards for all.
Labour will help grandparents who want to be more involved in caring for their grandchildren, by consulting on allowing grandparents to share in parents' unpaid parental leave, thereby enabling them to take time off work without fear of losing their job.
Parents often rely on other family members – particularly grandparents – to help them juggle work and childcare. More than half of all mothers rely on grandparents for childcare when they first go back to employment after maternity leave. Correspondinlghly, two-thirds of grandparents with grandchildren aged under 16 provide some childcare.
Yet public policy hasn't kept up with the reality of families' lives, with 1.9 million grandparents giving up a job, reducing their hours, or taking time off work to look after their grandchildren. 70% of grandparents say the caring contribution they make is not currently recognised.
To assist grandparents to help their families and to stay in their jobs, Labour will consult on what flexibilities would make the system work better for families and businesses, given changing patterns of care. This could include allowing grandparents to share in parents' unpaid parental leave. So those grandparents can be more involved in caring for their grandchildren.
Labour's women's manifesto also sets out measures to:
- lessen low pay, by increasing the Minimum Wage to more than £8 by October 2019.
- address the gender pay gap, with new pay transparency rules for all large employers.
- extend free childcare from 15 to 25 hours a week for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds, funded by increasing the Bank Levy.
- guarantee access for parents of primary-age children to wraparound childcare 8am-6pm through primary schools.
- protect the Sure-Start budget, and open up an additional 50,000 childcare places.
- double paid Paternity Leave from 2 to 4 weeks, and increase that pay to the equivalent of a full week’s work at the National Minimum Wage, so that more families can afford to take up their entitlements.
- support healthy relationships, by introducing age-appropriate compulsory sex and relationship education.
- tackle violence against women and girls by appointing a new commissioner to enforce national standards on tackling domestic and sexual abuse, and by strengthening the law.
- provide more stable central funding for women's refuges and for rape crisis centres.
Rob Marris, Labour Candidate for Wolverhampton South West