On 5 April 2015, the law took a step forward towards supporting and encouraging a more modern and balanced approach to family life for new parents. This came in the form of Shared Parental Leave. A new type of leave, which allows parents to share the care of their child by effectively permitting mothers to share their maternity leave and pay, with their partner.
Other countries, such as Sweden introduced this type of leave in the 70s and have embraced it. Yet, a recent study has shown that the uptake in the UK has been somewhat disappointing:
- only 2% of companies have seen a significant uptake since the new law came into force;
- 60% of HR Directors have received none, or just some requests for Shared Parental Leave;
- the biggest barrier identified was the cultural perception, with 41% saying they thought fathers taking an extended period of time off would be frowned upon or career limiting;
- another reason was that no enhanced package was offered above the statutory minimum.
As it stands, the new law does not appear to have had the significant impact some might have hoped, however that is not to say it will not become more popular in the future.
Employers must be aware of employees’ rights to Shared Parental leave and what to do if employees opt to use it. We regularly advise employers on a variety of employment issues, including Shared Parental Leave and we would be happy to assist with any queries employers may have.
You can hear Tony McGrade speaking on this issue using the following link: (Scroll to 01:56:00)
Please let us know if you require any advice on any aspect of employment law. You can contact us on 0141 221 4488 or visit our homepage.