Employers are being urged to get up-to-speed as the new shared parental leave rights kick in on the 5th April. The radical changes will affect all employers, providing families with an unprecedented level of flexibility that will create a more agile workforce, but inevitably throw up challenges too.
According to BIS (the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills) around 285,000 working couples are expected to be eligible to share leave from April 2015. Research by EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, shows that 40% of HR professionals see shared parental leave as a key challenge their organisation will need to face within the next 3 to 6 months. At the same time, HR practitioners rank shared parental leave as a bigger challenge than improving attendance and performance, managing change and equal pay issues.
Feedback from employers is that shared parental leave is generally a positive move, although individual companies are concerned about making the initial adjustment or ensuring they handle requests correctly and effectively.
However, help is available. EEF has added two additional dates to its series of UK-wide seminars called 'Shared parental leave – who's holding the baby?' These sessions translate the numerous regulatory requirements so that companies can confidently manage the shared parental leave process from start to finish.