Employers express shared parental leave confusion

205869479_6fc78e0fbf_oBusinesses are unclear how they will implement shared parental leave (SPL) when it comes into force next year.

A survey by My Family Care and Hogan Lowells found companies are mired in confusion about the changes which allow parents to share leave after the birth of a child from April 2015. Only 15% of companies have a clear idea about how they will implement the policy.

Under the plans, parents will be able to chop and change – something critics say will make it tricky for employers to operate. Draft legislation was published in March.

Positively, 59% of the companies surveyed said the new policy is an opportunity to enhance family-friendly policies and a third said it fits their aims of being more gender neutral about parenting.

Ed Bowyer, employment partner at law firm Hogan Lowells, said: “Many organisations are still at the ‘drawing board’ stage and a significant proportion, over 35%, are just preparing to sit down at that drawing board. A key concern from the outset is around how resource can be managed if people take time off in less predictable chunks.”

The research revealed that the biggest concern is around the amount of internal administrative changes the legislation will create, while companies also revealed anxieties over managing resources in periods of leave and communicating the changes to staff. There was also a lack of certainty around pay under SPL.

Ben Black, founder of My Family Care, which provides solutions that allow employees to manage their family care needs while working, said: “This research shows the dire need for companies to really evaluate what the changes mean to them. These are massive changes that are monumental in the way that fatherhood is perceived, officially giving men a more proactive role in bringing up a child from the very start, while giving female employees the chance to return to work earlier. Ultimately what companies choose to do will depend on whether they want their employees to take it up and how it fits in with their strategic goals.”

My Family Care and Hogan Lowells have produced a guide to the changes: Shared Parental Leave: HR Resources Pack

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/robertfrancis/

 

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