The Government launched its consultation “Good Work Plan: Proposals to support families” earlier this year.
Within this, there are proposals to reform parental leave and pay; the consultation for which closes on 29th November 2019.
Part of this looks at reform of Shared Parental Leave (SPL). Since 2015, parents have been able to opt into SPL which effectively allows them to share 50 weeks of leave. The Government anticipated that there would be a take up of between 2 - 8% and the consultation reports that, to date, take up is in the middle of these percentages. Currently, SPL is only available if the mother (or primary adopter) curtails their maternity/adoption leave. Further it is payable at a fixed rate for each week; there is no enhanced rate like there is for statutory maternity and adoption pay.
The consultation highlights that the advocacy group, Working Families, have suggested that each parent should be given their own ‘pot’ of leave and pay to be shared however they would like. The consultation is seeking views on this idea as well as other matters like whether the mother (or primary adopter) should be ‘gatekeeper’ of the process and whether SPL should have an enhanced rate.
Employers should keep an eye out for the Government’s response to this consultation and ensure that any resultant changes to legislation are reflected in their own policies.
The full consultation document can be found here.