Mum started working for her employer three months after becoming pregnant and is therefore not eligible. That consultation, launched in July by Theresa May, envisages longer leave for dads. The primary purpose of maternity leave is aimed at the health and wellbeing of the mother whilst shared parental leave is for the care of the child. The stress this caused led to severe mental health problems and suicidal thoughts. “I never saw him, and I didn’t want it to be like that for my son,” Paul says. He told his boss that a complication in pregnancy would require a caesarean and a long recovery for his wife and son. In addition, in contrast to Maternity and Adoption Leave, employees can stop and start Shared Parental Leave and return to work between periods of leave, for example during a particularly busy period or to complete a particular project, if they wish. Recovery for mothers after a particularly tough labour has often barely begun after two weeks. We use cookies to collect information about how you use this site. In the UK shared parental leave, or SPL, was introduced in 2015. “It’s still always mums dropping off children and dealing with everything,” he adds. “My wife phoned me every half hour, crying,” he says. Founders, while typically socially progressive, are often childless young men who “continue to see statutory leave as the standard”, Bradburn adds. “If you’re a startup and lose your only salesperson for three months, you have a much bigger problem,” says Matt Bradburn, co-founder of London-based People Collective, which advises startups on human resources. The remaining 300 days of the 480-day total can be shared. Eligible parents need to give their employer(s) at least 8 weeks’ notice of periods of leave and certain information. In workplaces, men are too often tacitly or explicitly discouraged from taking leave. Fathers/partners can also start their Shared Parental Leave whilst the mother is still on Maternity Leave. No, but a self-employed mother can ‘create’ leave and pay for her employed partner to take from Maternity Allowance which she does not intend to use. Got it? Application forms for SPL were not circulated alongside those for maternity or paternity leave, and the human resources department was unhelpful. Your employee must give you written notice if they want to take Shared Parental Leave and/or Pay. This guidance document provides five example scenarios detailing how occupational shared parental leave works in practice. Dad is eligible for Statutory Shared Parental Leave and Pay. Dozens of companies are already acting. You are entitled to rely on the information your employee provides and are not required to check this. Freed was amazed to observe parents routinely dashing from meetings to nursery pick-ups at 3.30pm – without judgment. Parents with children born or placed for adoption on or after March 17, 2019, will be eligible. But that has to change.”. Campaigners describe a vicious cycle; even well-intentioned couples submit to a deterrent climate, unwittingly perpetuating low expectations and poor policy. Under SPL, a mother must take two weeks of maternity leave after the birth, but can move to SPL for the remaining 50 weeks, 37 of which are paid. “I got the message I was doing something a bit weird, that might affect my career,” Freed says. Parental leave policies are more than just legalese – they’re a major indication of a country’s approach to gender equality. Two weeks after the birth of his son, Paul went back to the factory. Only one policy appeared to nudge the balance: a form of enhanced paternity leave known as “a father’s quota” – a chunk of leave that a couple loses unless the father takes it. But flexibility doesn’t pay the bills. He felt lucky, but noticed a change when he got back. “I’ve had everything from ‘paedo’ to ‘what do you know about children?’,” he says, while trying to be positive about progress, if not the speed of it. One anonymous father recalls the macho congratulations his colleague at a bank received on returning to his desk the day after leaving the labour ward. With the EI parental sharing benefit, parents selecting the standard duration of parental benefits could receive up to 40 weeks of parental benefits, an increase from the current 35 weeks. The criteria for claiming include a minimum length of employment with the same company and an eight-week notice period. When David Freed was an economist in the public sector in London, he had no problem arranging shared leave when he and his wife, Charlotte, had a son in 2016. I felt really down,” he says. Encouraging both long periods of leave and the sharing of responsibilities between parents, these five countries have the most balanced parental leave policies in the world. Employment Law & HR. They are entitled to a total of 480 days of leave, 390 days of which are paid at 80% of salary. Implementing this measure three months sooner means that more than 24,000 additional parents could benefit from this measure. Shared parental leave. William, not his real name, had to fight for two weeks off after the birth of his first child. Bad policy has far-reaching implications. The option of five to eight weeks of additional parental leave for the "other parent" becomes a reality March 17 as the new parental sharing benefit rolls out. “In the UK, we’d be like: ‘Yeah, let me just ask my wife.’ It’s a huge cultural difference, and it takes pressure off mums to be responsible for everything,” he says. Shared Parental Leave and Pay helps eligible parents to combine work with family life. “During the week, there are probably more dads out with babies than mums,” Freed says. She qualifies for Shared Parental Leave but decides not to take it and returns to work after taking 15 weeks of Maternity Leave and Maternity Allowance. Remember that if you are eligible for Shared Parental Leave and/or Pay you have a legal right to take it. Encouraging all parents to be engaged in full-time caregiving for their infants will help to create greater financial security for women and stronger bonds between fathers or second parents and their babies. You need to keep records for HMRC including information provided by your employee to show that they were eligible for statutory pay. Neither parent could access more than 35 weeks in total, requiring both parents to take some time off in order to access some or all of the additional weeks. “But the vast majority of workplaces haven’t caught up, and dads are still expected to follow the stereotype of being at work is the priority.”. Eligible parents can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay and choose how and when to take the leave. Yes. The UK government at least recognises there is a problem, while also challenging its purported scale. When companies grow and age they now tend to enhance paternity leave to avoid the complexities of SPL, another criticism of the policy. For more information see the FAQ’s below, and get help planning your leave and pay. Hear from parents who took Shared Parental Leave, and how it worked for them on this site. William had to go back to work. You will not receive a reply. Even in countries with SPL, women still do more in the home when children arrive. Giving parents more choice and flexibility to combine work with childcare responsibilities means that more parents are able to work in jobs that match their qualifications and experience. If there is a culture of presenteeism in Sweden, it exists at home, not work. For the self-employed – now a record 15% of the workforce – having children costs the most. Mum doesn’t qualify for Shared Parental Pay as she earns less than the lower earnings limit (£118 for 2019-20). Meanwhile, research published in August by the law firm EMW, based on claims filed by businesses with HMRC, suggests that less than a third of fathers take statutory two-week paid paternity leave, a figure that is in decline. “Providing women with equal economic opportunities will drive innovation and support middle class families. If a father invites him to a playdate, he’ll get straight back. If you can’t afford to make and then ‘reclaim’ payments, you can apply to HMRC for an advance. They can give notice to you on this form or alternatively provide the required information in a format that you specify. Under the arrangement, which was introduced in April 2015, parents can share up to 50 weeks of leave between them, and up to 37 weeks of statutory shared parental pay. Only 2% of new parents split their entitlement. The early period of parental leave is also crucial for mum to recover from giving birth. Mum and Dad are both eligible for Shared Parental Leave and Pay and decide to take three blocks of leave each. Mum qualifies and decides to end her Adoption Leave and Pay early in order to take Shared Parental Leave and Pay. Earlier this year, the government launched a £1.5m “share the joy” campaign in an attempt to boost uptake of as little as 2%. The government consultation excludes self-employed parents, because of the “flexibility and autonomy [they have] over the time they take off”. Netflix, IBM and Twitter also have packages that wouldn’t look out of place in Stockholm. As a result, fathers have been taking steadily bigger chunks of the total leave period – up to 27.9% in 2017. Freed, whose experience in England inspired him to write Dads Don’t Babysit: Towards Equal Parenting, alongside fellow frustrated father James Millar, has noticed Swedish dads are better at sharing child-rearing responsibilities as well as day-to-day duties. Originally anticipated for June 2019, this new measure will provide an additional five weeks of Employment Insurance parental benefits when parents—including adoptive and same-sex parents—agree to share parental benefits, or an additional eight weeks for those who choose the extended parental benefit option. As well as managing life-changing new circumstances at home alone, she later had to pass up a promotion that would have clashed with the end of her maternity leave. All content is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0, except where otherwise stated. Further guidance for employers about Shared Parental Leave and Pay. The gaps never close, partly because mothers are much more likely to work part-time, while families grapple with domestic logistics, childcare costs and the self-perpetuating pay gap itself – which means it tends to make financial sense for fathers to work more. The sharing benefit would be available to eligible birth parents and adoptive parents, including both opposite-sex and same-sex parents. The leave and pay is ‘created’ when a mother or adopter ends or commits to ending their maternity or adoption entitlement early to opt into the Shared Parental Leave and Pay schemes. As the Roberts found, the complexity of SPL has been part of the reason parents aren’t rushing to take it – and employers aren’t racing to offer it.


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