Spending quality bonding time with your child undoubtedly has a positive impact on your child and the family unit, however, fitting this around your work schedule can often be a difficult task.
Shared Parental Leave (SPL) is a policy aimed at improving gender equality in the workplace and gives new parents the opportunity to split up to 52 weeks of SPL between them, as well as up to 39 weeks of statutory shared parental pay.
You need to share the pay and leave in the first year after your child is born, or placed with your family if you are adopting. Many parents in the United Kingdom are eligible to take SPL, however SPL’s use is exceptionally low, with research showing that only 2% of eligible couples utilised SPL last year.
What rate is SPL paid at?
The rate of pay (at the time of writing: £151.20 a week or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lower) is understood to be the main reason behind the scheme’s apparent unpopularity, as few couples can afford the financial implications of taking this leave, especially as having a baby is a particularly expensive life event.
It is suggested that to assist in closing the ‘gender pay gap’, SPL should be raised to help it become a more affordable option for parents who are juggling childcare responsibilities with workplace responsibilities.
Could you do more to promote the use of SPL in your workplace so that employees are aware of the leave on offer to them after having a child?
It is suggested that when undertaking workplace discussions with pregnant employees or expectant fathers, all options for leave and pay are fully disclosed and explored so that the employee has the opportunity to decide whether or not they would like to utilise their shared parental leave. Managers should have good knowledge of the scheme, so they are equipped to answer any employee queries on the subject.
If you need help navigating SPL or any other HR queries, please give us a call on 0161 603 2156 and we will be happy to assist you confidentially.