Under a proposed change in the law, parents will be allowed to “mix and match” how they take time off to care for a new baby.
The Children and Families Bill intends to enable mums and dads to work alternate months for the first year of the child’s life. The aim is for the father to take a more active role in the child’s upbringing.
The mother will still have to take 2 weeks’ compulsory maternity leave when the baby is born (I don’t think many mums will complain about that!) but following the completion of those two weeks, she can choose to end her leave early and share the remainder of her leave with the father.
The entitlement to 39 weeks’ pay will continue but it will be split between the parents.
Good news for employees!
Maybe not such good news for the employer . . .
A few things for employers to consider . . .
The problem with a system of shared leave is that it’s bound to be difficult to administer.
Allowing parents to customise their own leave, dividing it up however they choose, may present you with organisational problems.
For example, finding people to cover for mums and dads taking leave will be particularly challenging where the leave period is broken up into many different blocks.
And calculating how much statutory parental pay or normal salary is due will not be straightforward either.
Of course, one of the benefits of the scheme for employers is that some mothers may be more inclined to return early from maternity leave in the knowledge that the father can look after the baby instead.
What happens next?
The details are still being debated by Parliament. We’ll keep you posted when we know when the changes will become law.
In the meantime, if you wish to discuss how your duties towards mums and dads in the workplace, please feel free to give us a call on 01604 601 575.