Labour is launching 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 working families.
It sets out a new commitment to 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, enabling them to take time off work without fear of losing their job.
Parents are increasingly relying on other family members to help them juggle work and childcare, particularly grandparents. More than half of all mothers rely on grandparents for childcare when they first go back to work after maternity leave, while two-thirds of grandparents with grandchildren aged under-16 provide some childcare.
However 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. Seven in 10 grandparents say the caring contribution they make is not currently recognised.
To help grandparents help their families and 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, including allowing grandparents who want to be more involved in caring for their grandchildren to share in parents’ unpaid parental leave.
Labour’s women’s manifesto also sets out measures to:
- Tackle low pay, by increasing the minimum wage to more than £8 by October 2019.
- Tackle 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 three and four-year-olds with proper funding from increasing the bank levy.
- Guarantee access for parents of primary-age children to 8am-6pm wraparound childcare through primary schools.
- Protect the Sure Start budget and open up an additional 50,000 childcare places.
- Double paid paternity leave from two to four weeks, and increase pay to the equivalent of a full weeks work at the National Minimum Wage so that more families can 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, strengthening the law and providing more stable central funding for women’s refuges and Rape Crisis Centres.