QualitySolicitors warns SMEs to prepare for Shared Parental Leave Regulations

Print This Post

1 May 2015


PrintEarlier this month, the Shared Parental Leave Regulations came into effect, which allow new parents to share the maternity leave entitlement of 52 weeks, provided the mother takes two weeks off directly after the birth.

It is the biggest change to parental leave in a generation, and is designed to allow millions of families the chance to better manage their work/life balance and make decisions suitable to their personal circumstances.  But while the new choice is excellent news for parents, small and medium sized businesses need to be aware of the potential impact to their business and QualitySolicitors warns they must have the right parental leave policies in place.

QualitySolicitors conducted a survey of 1,000 UK fathers to give SMEs some insight into how fathers in Britain will use their new leave entitlement. It showed that whilst the majority of men plan to take advantage of the change to spend more time with their newborn, some are reluctant to take more time off work on statutory pay –  citing work pressures and money worries.

The research* showed:

– 61% of fathers would take their full entitlement of the paternity leave available under the new law

– 22% said they wouldn’t take it – the main reasons for this amongst this group were financial pressures (44%) a sense of duty to be the breadwinner (34%) and a fear of being stuck at home with a newborn (25%)

– Almost a quarter (24%) said it’d create ‘too much hassle’ at work if they were to take extended leave. Nearly a fifth (17%) said it’d damage their career whilst a sixth (16%) said they thought their colleagues would resent them.

– Worryingly, 8% say their company makes them feel ‘very uncomfortable’ about taking time off and nearly a sixth (14%) say that their employer would really struggle without them there. Younger employees (30%) are more likely to worry about the pressure placed on their colleagues, compared with just 14% of dads aged 40 – 45 years.

Ian Horner, SME legal expert at QualitySolicitors said: “ It is clear that Dads up and down the country welcome the recent changes to parental leave legislation. As the biggest change in parental leave law for generations, this brings a unique set of challenges for SMEs who should make sure they have the right parental leave policies in place. It is crucial that employers and fathers-to-be have frank conversations as to how businesses can absorb the additional workload so that fathers taking extended leave can take advantage of what is crucial bonding time with their newborn child and businesses can continue to function effectively in their absence”.

While the full impact of the new parental leave legislation will take time to assess, it needs not be a crippling issue for SMEs as long as they understand their rights and obligations and plan ahead.

*The research was conducted in March 2015 by One Poll and asked 1,000 fathers for their views.

 



Associate News is provided by Legal Futures Associates.
Find out about becoming an Associate



Legal Futures Blog

Court modernisation: Court Service spins response to NAO report

Roger Smith

After months of debate on the court modernisation programme led by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service, we now have an authoritative analysis from the National Audit Office. HMCTS chief executive Susan Acland-Hood professed herself happy. The report was “helpful and constructive”. She was pleased that “the NAO acknowledges our ‘early progress’”. Her comments were more reflective of spin than the span of the NAO report. The NAO acknowledges the ambitious nature of the reform. But comments like “HMCTS’s change portfolio presents a very significant challenge” need minimal decoding to reveal a bit of concern.

May 17th, 2018