Coalition ‘rift’ threatens shared leave

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAShared parental leave proposals that would allow parents to switch back and forth up to six times have reportedly been shelved.

The Daily Mail has reported that the plans, drawn up by Lib Dem minister Jo Swinson, had caused a rift in the coalition, with senior Tories rejecting the idea of parents chopping and changing as unworkable for business. The paper said a total 65 week leave period had been proposed with one week’s notice required.

However, Swinson took to social media to deny that this was the case and in the past she has referred to eight weeks’ notice being necessary. The system of shared parental leave is due to be implemented in 2015.

At the recent Working Mums awards event the equalities minister told Flexible Boss government was assessing the results of the consultation but that eight weeks’ notice would be needed for shared parental leave. “If you wanted to make a change to your pattern you should be able to make a change and that would be on a similar eight week basis,” she added.

Swinson has on several occasions referred to retailers being among employers who may appreciate having a parent return to the workplace for a short period of time to help cope with busy times such as Christmas.

Speaking at the awards event, Swinson also said she hoped to reduce the “nervousness” for organisations about having a conversation regarding an employee’s intentions. “If you just have the conversation both sides are much happier,” she said. “What we can do with the legislation is encourage some of those conversations to happen earlier.”

In the meantime, it is unclear what is happening behind Whitehall doors when it comes to the mechanics of the shared leave proposal. The Department for Business has so far refused to make any comment on the matter, despite repeated requests.

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Categories: Government, News

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