Shared Parental Leave Causes Concern and Confusion for Employers, Says Survey

21 May 2014 - New research into how businesses feel about the imminent changes in Shared Parental Leave (SPL) reveals that most companies are still confused about their policies and how the changes will affect them when they come into force in April 2015.  A joint study by My Family Care and Hogan Lovells, shows that a mere 15 per cent of employers have a clear idea of how they will implement the new provision for their staff who are parents.

Under the new plans, couples will be able to share 12 months of leave after the birth of a child, helping women return to the workplace and allowing men to have more involvement in caring for new babies. 

The research revealed that the biggest concern is around the amount of internal administrative changes the legislation will create; while companies also revealed anxieties over managing resources in periods of leave and communicating the changes to staff.  There was also a lack of certainty around pay under SPL. 

Ed Bowyer, Employment Partner at Hogan Lovells said of the research:

"Many organisations are still at the "drawing board" stage – which is probably not surprising given that the draft regulations were published only fairly recently – and a significant proportion, over 35%, are just preparing to sit down at that drawing board.

"Notwithstanding, a key concern from the outset is around how resource can be managed if people take time off in less predictable chunks; with 80% of respondents indicating that internal administration and system changes are a key concern."

The survey, which involved companies across an array of sectors, highlights the need for help when dealing with these changes. 

Ben Black, Founder of My Family Care which provides solutions that allow employees to manage their family care while working said:

This research shows the dire need for companies to really evaluate what the changes mean to them.  These are massive changes that are monumental in the way that fatherhood is perceived, officially giving men a more proactive role in bringing up a child from the very start, while giving female employees the chance to return to work earlier

Ultimately what companies choose to do will depend on whether they want their employees to take it up and how it fits in with their strategic goals.It was uplifting to see that the majority of companies questioned (59%) perceive the new SPL policies as an opportunity to enhance their family-friendly policies and a third (33%) said that it fits well with their aims of being more gender neutral about parenting showing the massive waves that have been made in employment over the past 20 years.”

To help businesses confused about the changes in SPL, My Family Care, together with the support of Hogan Lovells, have created a downloadable Shared ParentaL Leave: HR Resources Pack providing information and advice to HR departments with questions over what the changes mean to them.
The guide includes:

• Advice on how companies can get to grips with SPL
• Bringing SPL to life – a case study with model answers
• Thoughts from industry experts on the implications of SPL for business and gender equality
• Access to HR and Diversity webinars

Please note that at 12:30 on Thursday the 19th of June, 2014, My Family Care will be joined by legal experts and leading employers to present a Webinar for HR and Diversity professionals called Shared Parental  Leave: Nine Months and Counting. This webinar is free and you can register here . 

All of the information is available to download through My Family Care.


About the Research
The Shared Parental Leave Survey, which surveyed over 70 companies of different sizes from a variety of sectors, was organised by Hogan Lovells and My Family Care. 

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