Have your say: Consultation on Parental Leave

The following blog comes from Jennifer Liston-Smith, Head of Thought Leadership, Coaching and Consultancy, at Bright Horizons.

We’re always keen to advise our clients and contacts on best practice as family-friendly employers. We also take seriously our role as influencers in the forming and reforming of public policy.

We want to make sure you’re aware of the current consultation on aspects of parental leave, as part of the Government’s Good Work Plan. It offers a great opportunity to take part in shaping parental leave fit for our 21st-century workforce.

We’ve put together a guide to highlight the consultation. Why not download your copy now and get your response in before the deadlines on 11th October (covering Neonatal Leave and Pay and also Transparency of family leave and flexible working policies) and 29th November (review of Parental Leave).

This consultation invites either small tweaks to the current provision or potentially a review of the whole system. It offers scope for the reform of parental leave and the role it can play in gender equality and closing the gender pay gap. It’s clear that many UK employers are already deciding to extend their own enhanced Paternity Leave or gender-neutral leave instead of relying only on Shared Parental Leave (SPL), in order to give dads / partners their own portion of leave and to avoid some perceived complications of SPL. There is also some view that SPL is seen as a sacrifice by the birth mother or primary adopter sharing ‘their’ year of leave and the way this creates a ‘maternal gatekeeper’. The Consultation document shows a real openness and depth of understanding of the needs and wishes of modern families and employers by the Government Department for BEIS (Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) and a willingness to make parental leave really work to support choice and engagement.”

The consultation was first published in July, 5 days before Prime Minister Boris Johnson assumed office. We would like to hope that a good volume of responses will keep these matters on the agenda alongside many other currently pressing matters. So make sure to take part: here’s how.

If you missed our recent webinar with HRreview discussing this topic on 26th September 2019, you can watch a recording here. Our fantastic panel guests include:

  • Debbi Jackson, Head of Family Related Leave and Pay, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
  • Carolanne Minashi, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at our client UBS