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Germany could become the first country in the world to give grandparents the equivalent of maternity leave.

Family minister Kristina Schröder says she’s responding to figures showing that more than half of German parents say grandparents play a vital role bringing up their children.

She wants jobs to be safeguarded while grandparents take unpaid leave for long periods.

“Often grandparents are working themselves and they would like to take more time off to spend with their grandchildren. That’s why we want to introduce a “grandparents’ time” that allows working grandparents to quit their job for a while or to temporarily reduce their working hours,” said Schröder

The minister hopes to make it legal for employees of firms with more than 15 workers to request the grandparents’ leave.

It is thought the new rights would reduce childcare costs, particularly for parents on low incomes and would benefit one parent families significant.

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