Shared Parental Leave – Getting managers on board is the key concern

A joint study by My Family Care and law firm, Hogan Lovells, shows this is the biggest worry, followed by the administration caused and the issues of ensuring that the know-how is in place and resources are managed accordingly.

The research, which was undertaken at a Think Tank event held in October to help educate HR managers on how they can implement SPL, also revealed that just over one in three (35%) businesses would describe themselves as nearly ready or fully prepared for SPL, while more than half (64%) are positive about the changes.

This contrasts with a similar survey of HR staff undertaken in May where a whopping 75% of employers said they were worried about what was coming.

Ben Black, Director of My Family Care says: “Our latest Think Tank event threw up some very interesting results when it comes to how HRDs are feeling towards the introduction of Shared Parental Leave.  It’s a big relief that businesses have come a long way in their preparation for the implementation and are, like me, very optimistic about the changes.

“Shared Parental Leave gives parents the choice on how they care for their child in the first year of their baby’s birth and is a step towards creating a world where successful careers and involved parenting go hand in hand, and where gender is no barrier to success.”

Under the new plans, Shared Parental Leave is designed to allow parents to take leave flexibly in the first year of a child’s life, helping women return to the workplace and allowing men to have more involvement in caring for new babies.  It applies to children expected to be born on or after 5th April 2015.  Up to 50 weeks’ leave and 37 weeks’ pay can be shared between the parents if the mother brings her maternity leave and pay to an early end.

Ed Bowyer, Employment Partner at Hogan Lovells, said of the research: “It’s good to see that many companies have made big progress since our last meeting in May, although time is running out for the 11 per cent of employers who haven’t even started planning yet and the 36 per cent who are uncertain about their plans.

“The most significant strategic decision for most employers will be whether or not to enhance pay.  The starting point for many employers is that matching shared paternity pay to maternity pay feels like ‘the right thing to do’.  Clearly there are material financial implications in this approach, so it’s important for employers to think seriously now about what they plan and then make an informed decision that is best for the employer and employee.”

Of the HRDs questioned at the event 38 per cent of employers say they plan to match statutory paternity pay with enhanced maternity pay while just 13 per cent said they would offer statutory pay only.

To help businesses deal with the challenges of SPL implementation My Family Care, together with Hogan Lovells, has compiled a downloadable set of resources to help – looking at what you need to do, with whom and when.  To download please click here.

The guide includes:

–   An implementation calendar helping you plan and schedule what needs to be done

–   Bringing SPL to life – case studies of businesses and how they are getting on with implementation

–   Creative ideas for internal communication and messaging

–   Advice on Pay and Discrimination issues.

And on Wednesday 22nd October at 12.30-13.30, My Family Care will be holding a webinar where HR teams can log in and take part in an advice session to help them get their policies and plans in place.  To register, click here.

Image: Parents via Shutterstock