Shared parental leave is on the way, which will provide new parents with a lot more flexibility in how they take time out from work. The onus will no longer be purely on the mother, but instead allow both parents to share an agreed allowance of parental between them. ACAS has a lot more information on the specific regulations, while Personnel Today explores some key questions for employers to consider.
This recent perspective on parental leave from TheVerge.com focuses on the tech sector. They compare approaches in the US with Sweden – which is a pretty stark contrast! – but it illustrates that parental leave for both sexes benefits all parties. It also underlines the role shared parental leave can play in improving gender equality – something the world of tech isn’t exactly known for.
Terminology influences how we think about issues, so increased reference to ‘Parental’ rather than ‘Maternity’ leave may contribute to moving this from being such a gendered issue.
Research has previously demonstrated that employees view their organisation as a better place to work, even when they can’t access benefits offered to other categories of employee. Think about single men with no children – they have a more positive perception of their employer when the organisation offers generous maternity leave. Increased engagement, by proxy!
Flexibility in how employees organise all kinds of leave contributes to engagement, productivity and loyalty to the organisation. Employers shouldn’t limit their thinking to new mothers, when the organisation as a whole can benefit.