Very soon, parents with babies born due on or after 5 April will be entitled to sharing up to 50 weeks of parental leave. And so far, 285,000 working couples a year are expected to be eligible, giving their employer eight weeks’ notice of the pattern of leave they intend to take .
“We recognise that this isn’t going to to be easy for those at the forefront of the change,” said Swinson. But we also know that for many dads the nerves they feel about having a conversation with their boss around leave will be worth it in the end.
Countless research studies show that more time with dads early on leads to better outcome for children, not to mention the special family bonds it creates. We also know that many employers are incredibly supportive and keen to offer mums and dads more flexibility.
Employers will see the benefit in terms of staff loyalty and providing women the option to return to work earlier. That’s why employers like Shell, Deloitte, Linklaters, PWC and the Civil Service are offering parents enhanced shared parental pay in line with their maternity packages.
Read more about shared parental leave:
- How does the UK truly feel about men and women sharing parental leave and childcare
- Many fathers won’t qualify for shared parental leave
- Employers need to start thinking of the impact of shared parental leave on business
To better help employers and employees alike understand what rights and responsibilities parents have, ACAS and BIS have created a top tips guide.
“The first thing to do is make sure you are eligible for Shared Parental Leave.
“Talk to your partner before speaking to your employer. The combinations are flexible so make sure they fit around your life and work for you as a couple. Maybe you want to double up in the early days for extra support or you might decide to tag-team halfway through the choice is yours.
“Have the conversation with your employer as early as you can. The sooner you do, the easier it will be to make plans for your time away from the work. Remember you have to give your employer at least eight weeks notice of your intention to take Shared Parental Leave.
“Check to see if your employer offers an enhanced package (a package over and above statutory), and if they do, what type of package it is.
“Most importantly, know your rights. No employers can opt out of Shared Parental Leave if you are eligible.”