EXCLUSIVE: Gamesys increases shared parental leave take-up by matching enhanced maternity pay


EXCLUSIVE: Global technology and online gambling organisation Gamesys has increased the take-up of fathers using shared parental leave by matching its shared parental pay to its enhanced maternity pay rate.

The organisation, which has 950 employees in the UK, including 700 based in London, enhanced its shared parental leave pay in May 2017 from statutory shared parental pay to its enhanced maternity pay rate. This enables both male and female employees to share 10 weeks of parental leave at full pay, followed by 16 weeks of leave at half pay, then 13 weeks at the statutory shared parental pay rate. The final 13 weeks of parental leave are unpaid.

Prior to matching shared parental and enhanced maternity pay, one father-to-be at Gamesys had taken shared parental leave. In the year since the pay rate was increased, 10 male employees have now taken shared parental leave, and a further four have made plans to take it.

Gamesys decided to match its shared parental pay to its enhanced maternity pay to ensure that male employees were not disadvantaged by taking leave to care for their newborn.

The organisation originally enhanced its maternity pay in January 2016, after feedback from its 2015 annual employee survey, conducted in May and June, found that working mothers at the organisation wanted more support.

Gamesys communicated its enhanced shared parental leave pay using a policy document. This included graphs to help demonstrate to employees how they can take and share their leave entitlement.

Statutory shared parental leave enables parents to share 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay between them. Statutory shared parental leave pay is paid at the lower rate of £145.18 a week, or 90% of an employee’s weekly average.

Gamesys has 1,100 employees globally, across eight operating sites in Barcelona, Estonia, Gibraltar, London, Malta, New Jersey, Prague and Stoke. Approximately two-thirds of the organisation’s workforce are male.

Alex Cooke, HR officer at Gamesys, said: “We just had a moral compass. Let’s try and go above [statutory shared parental pay] to provide absolute clarity for people and to encourage people to take it. [Shared parental leave] is a great thing in terms of giving fathers time off. We can do more to support fathers and enhance [shared parental leave pay], why wait until decisions are made in courts when it’s actually something that’s really good that we want to offer to people. It’s quite bespoke as well, so not many [organisations] do it.

“It’s very much a goodwill gesture. As [an organisation], this is what we want to do [to] support more flexible working. This is one of the reasons that we’ve done it. It’s an extra tool to do that.”