EXCLUSIVE: Working Families to discuss shared parental leave at Employee Benefits Live

Sarah Jackson Working Families 430

Work-life balance charity Working Families will discuss what organisations can do to increase take up of shared parental leave at Employee Benefits Live 2016.

Sarah Jackson (pictured), chief executive at Working Families, will speak alongside Wendy Jepson, HR policy and compliance partner at Siemens, in a session titled How to boost the take-up of shared parental leave on Tuesday 11 October.

The panel discussion, which forms part of the event’s workplace equality and diversity conference stream, will examine the perceived barriers to take up, particularly among fathers, and the steps that employers can take to encourage new parents to take advantage of shared parental leave.

Jepson will highlight the importance of demonstrating an organisation’s commitment to supporting shared parental leave, including the role of senior leadership and the communication methods that can be employed.

Jepson said: “[Organisations] need to think about the visibility of the policy, which can be things like banners in the atrium when people arrive at work, messages on the intranet, and targeted conversations with people who have a baby on the way.

“[Organisations] also need to have some really clear messaging coming from [their] leadership, saying that the organisation is excited to be supporting shared parental leave and wants to see men taking it up.

“The other thing I would hope organisations are doing is matching their maternity offering; so if they offer contractually enhanced maternity pay I hope they are offering that to anyone, male or female, for shared parental leave because one of the barriers to taking it is the fact that even if [employees] get [the statutory] £139.58 a week then that’s a real disincentive.”

Employee Benefits Live 2016 will take place on Tuesday 11 and Wednesday 12 October at Olympia National, London. Register to attend for free and view the full conference programme.