Shared parental leave is opportunity to enhance family-friendly policies

Almost two-thirds (59%) of respondents see the government’s shared parental leave policy as an opportunity to enhance the family-friendly policies they offer to staff, according to research by law firm Hogan Lovells.


Under the new plans, which take effect from April 2015, parents will be able to share 12 months of leave after the birth of a child.

The research, which surveyed 70 employers, found that only 15% of respondents have a clear idea of how they will implement the policy.

More than a third (35%) of respondents are just preparing to sit down and make plans about how they will implement the policy.

Another third (33%) of respondents said the changes fit well with their aims of being more gender neutral about parenting.

Eight in ten (80%) of respondents cited internal administration and system changes as a key concern, while employers are also concerned about managing resources in periods of leave and communicating the changes to staff.

Hogan Lovells has also partnered childcare and eldercare provider My Family Care to launch a resources pack, which provides information and advice for HR departments around what the changes mean to them.

Ed Bowyer, employment partner at Hogan Lovells, said: “Many organisations are still at the ‘drawing board’ stage, which is probably not surprising given that the draft regulations were published only fairly recently, and a significant proportion, more than 35%, are just preparing to sit down at that drawing board.

“Notwithstanding, a key concern from the outset is around how resource can be managed if people take time off in less predictable chunks, with 80% of respondents indicating that internal administration and system changes are a key concern.”

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Ben Black, founder of My Family Care, added: “This research shows the dire need for employers 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.”