Did you know that we are close to celebrating the 3-year anniversary of when Shared Parental Leave first became available?!
For those managers who are new to this, the basic idea of Shared Parental Leave is that it can be taken by mothers or fathers (together or separately) in the first year of their baby’s life. New parents can take up to 52 weeks leave, and could be eligible for 39 weeks of pay (statutory or topped up by your company, it depends on your internal policy).
Thankfully, your HR team will take care of the policy and the application process, but it’s really useful for managers to be aware of how you can help support, especially as the conversation will usually start with you – listening, being open to suggestions and showing support will do wonders for your relationship with your team.
There are 3 major considerations for managers who get asked about Shared Parental Leave:
- Be prepared! If you have expectant parents in your team (yes, this includes fathers-to-be too), or someone on maternity leave, it is more likely than you think that they may be considering applying for Shared Parental Leave. Reports in the press about low take-up may lull you into a false sense of security that your team members won’t apply – however we work with parents across all industries and at all levels - who are considering or already discussing the process with their managers – are you ready for this discussion? Read more about it here
- Shared Parental Leave allows parents – both mothers and fathers – to spend more time as a family and to bond with their children during the first year of their life. Encouraging and supporting your new parents during this time can help boost health and wellbeing levels and decrease stress. The importance of this can’t be underestimated!
- Desire for flexibility and time with family is higher up the agenda than you may think - 80% fathers and 78% mothers say that achieving a satisfactory work/life balance is still the biggest challenge (Cityparents survey 2015). Consider how you may well protect long-term loyalty and retention through short-term flexibility.
Finally, watch this space! The TUC is currently pledging to increase statutory paternity leave from 2 to 6 weeks – enabling more dads to take more time for their family-life.