Why employers are positive about shared parental leave

According to a new survey by Workingmums.co.uk over three quarters of employers welcome shared parental leave despite concerns about its complexity and many are considering adapting their maternity packages in light of the new legislation.

parental leave

If you’re not down with the ‘new leg’, basically; mums can share maternity leave with their partners (if they’re also eligible) in what’s now referred to as Share Parental Leave (SPL), which involves choosing how much of the leave each of you will take. An example of how SPL might play out, offered by Gov.uk, reads as follows:

A mother and her partner are both eligible for SPL. The mother ends her maternity leave after 12 weeks, leaving 40 weeks (of the total 52 week entitlement) available for SPL. She takes 30 weeks and her partner takes the other 10 weeks.

Change is always subject to suspicion, and sometimes criticism, but when it comes to SPL, 81 per cent of employers back the new scheme, with the remaining 19 per cent – mainly smaller businesses – saying they would find it difficult to implement in their organisation.

This is great news for prospective parents but it’s also good to know what the work-related difficulties might be for our employers. Of the bosses surveyed, over half (56 per cent) said they were still preparing a policy on it with challenges including increased paperwork for smaller businesses and concerns about the complexity of dealing with mums and dads who work in different organisations. A quarter already had a policy on it by early December.

Many employers said they had either adapted their company maternity package (15 per cent) and a further 39 per cent were considering adapting it, for instance, reducing what they offered to mothers in order to increase what they offer to dads.

So, practically, what might this mean for parents? Well…
Eleven per cent of employers 11 per cent would be more cautious in granting flexible working as a result of the extension and 53 per cent said they would grant it on a case by case basis despite 30 per cent saying managers find it hard to manage multiple requests. Most employers (58 per cent) believe that flexible working improves retention, with only 9 per cent saying it doesn’t. Want to know what else employers say about flexi-time? Of course you do!

Only 3 per cent think that it makes workers less efficient with 36 per cent saying staff who work flexibly are more efficient.

As word spreads and employers get with the program, clueing ourselves is the best way to assist the change. No question.

For more information on Shared Parental Leave, visit gov.uk.