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'Encouraging' signs for enhanced shared parental pay

The success of Shared Parental Leave, it's been proposed, will hinge on the willingness of employers to offer enhanced pay and benefits with the new provision.

Enhanced Shared Parental Pay

If so, there's reason to be cautiously optimistic, according to recent research from XpertHR and Personnel Today.

More than half the organisations (56 per cent) that currently offer enhanced maternity pay said they would also offer enhanced shared parental pay. And three-quarters of those said they would match the pay offered to mothers.

Commentators said that this would probably translate into a 'higher than anticipated' take-up of Shared Parental Leave among fathers.

Paternity gap

Under Shared Parental Leave, couples will have the choice of sharing the mother's maternity leave, and will be able to spend time at home together for up to six months following the birth of their child.

But without enhanced pay, it may be difficult for partners to take lengthy periods off work to share caring responsibilities for a newborn baby, analysts claim.

While 96 per cent of women take more than two weeks away from work after the birth (or adoption) of a child, fewer than one in ten men do the same.

Many believe this is because they can't afford to. Just 9 per cent of fathers received full pay for more than two weeks, according to last year's figures.

This may explain why the Government had been modest in its expectations for take-up of Shared Parental Leave, putting the figure at between 2 and 8 per cent.

Acas publications and services

Acas has published guidance and information covering the key points about Shared parental leave and pay on its website.

Acas experts can visit your organisation and help you develop effective policies for Parents and carers in your workplace, including putting provisions into place for Shared parental leave.

Acas training on Maternity, paternity and adoption will keep you up to speed with all the changes surrounding Shared Parental Leave, as well as improve your understanding of the law in the way it relates to other family-relevant employment legislation.

For free, impartial advice on any employment relations issue visit Helpline Online.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.


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