Parents confused by and unaware of shared parenting legislation

Many parents across the UK are totally unaware of and confused by new legislation being introduced in April next year enabling mothers and fathers to share parental leave, according to a new survey.

Many parents across the UK are totally unaware of and confused by new legislation being introduced in April next year enabling mothers and fathers to share parental leave, according to a new survey.
 
In the survey of 1,000 parents for Good Care Guide, the TripAdvisor style website for the care industry, two thirds of parents said they were unaware of the changes being introduced in 2015.
 
Of those who did know about the Shared Parental Leave (SPL) changes, many were confused about the implications.  Forty-three per cent were under the misconception that parents will have equal rights, when in reality it will be up to the mother or primary adopter to sign off.
 
Some 41 per cent were correct in thinking that SPL means that parents will be able to split Parental Leave equally between them while one in 10 thought that parents will be able to access the same levels of parental leave pay, when in reality it will depend on what each company will offer. 
 
Some 84 per cent of parents have said that the new SPL legislation will not (or would not have for parents of children over the age of one) make any difference to how they take leave after their baby is or was born.
 
Despite this, 65 per cent of parents said that they would jump at the chance to have two to five years off work in order to raise their family if it was an option offered by employers.
 
Jennifer Liston-Smith, Director of Coaching & Consultancy at My Family Care, says: “Our research shows that the majority of parents are very unsure about the Shared Parental Leave changes, with a large chunk of people not even knowing about them altogether.  This highlights a need to educate parents-to-be about their options – choices that they have never had to quite this degree in the past, enabling women to spend more time at work while their partner takes on the childcare role.” 
 
This research comes just two weeks after a survey from My Family Care and Hogan Lovells revealed that only 15 per cent of employers had a clear idea of how they will implement the new provision for their staff who are parents.  
 
It found that the biggest concern for employers is around the amount of internal administrative changes the legislation will create, while companies also revealed anxieties over managing resources during shorter, potentially more flexible periods of leave and communicating the changes to staff.  
 
Liston-Smith added: “Despite these understandable concerns, we have found that the majority of companies we are working with have welcomed the idea of SPL to support their staff and family-friendly policies, and also as providing more talent retention choices for those women who are significant or main bread-winners within families.  However, it’s important that everyone understands the implications of the new legislation for families and businesses and our research shows there is a clear need for more education by the Government. There are solid plans in place to inform employers but it seems the public wants to know more too; and sooner rather than later.”

My Family Care has a downloadable HR resources pack on SPL and is holding a free webinar for HR experts on the subject next week. 

Picture credit: Vlado and www.freedigitalphotos.net.





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