More than half of parents and parents-to-be are unaware of the changes in maternity and paternity leave, due to be introduced in April, according to new research.
A survey of 1,000 parents by My Family Care for The Work & Family Show says as many as 68% of those questioned who did know about the new rules were unsure of what they mean, incorrectly believing that both mother and father will have equal rights or thinking that both parents will be able to access the same level of parental leave pay. In fact, says My Family Care, it will depend on what individual companies will offer and the mother will have more rights to control how and when she will take her leave and how much she wants to share with her partner. The legal minimum requirement is for her to have the first two weeks with her new baby and then she will have the freedom to decide if she wants to stay on maternity leave or share the remaining 50 weeks with her partner.
Ben Black, Director of My Family Care, says: “It’s a mere two months until Shared Parental Leave comes into force – one of the biggest changes in maternity and paternity leave that the Government has made since introducing Statutory Maternity Leave. However, it is worrying to see that there are still so many parents and parents-to-be unaware of the changes, as they could dramatically alter their outlook for the future and their role as parents.
“The introduction of Shared Parental Leave is a hugely encouraging step by the Government as it highlights their recognition of men and women as equal in the workplace, and at home, while encouraging companies to think more deeply about their workforce and helping employees balance work and family.”