Two surveys have come out this week looking at changes to the Children and Families Act 2014 that aim to make working around an expected newborn and a newborn more flexible for parents. The first change, which came into effect on 1 October 2014, allows fathers and partners the legal right to have time off for antenatal appointments. However, according to leading employment law firm Protecting.co.uk, 45% of partners will not be taking the time off.
The reason for this negative view of the change is down to the fact that time off is unpaid, is for a maximum of two appointments, with a maximum time for each appointment of 6.5 hours. That means that an employee on an average wage will lose out on £130 in total for two days absence. The research found that 35% of the women interviewed (1810 surveyed) explained that they would rather have the extra cash to spend on baby clothes and all of the other items needed for a newborn.
However according to a survey of employers by Workingmums.co.uk, over three quarters of employers welcome shared parental leave despite concerns about its complexity and many are considering adapting their maternity packages in light of the new legislation. The survey of over 400 employers, sponsored by WM Recruit, found 81% welcomed shared parental leave, with 19% – mainly smaller businesses – saying they would find it difficult to implement in their organisation. Some 13% were still unaware of SPL and 19% were aware, but were unsure what impact it might have on them.
What do you think? Will you be sharing parental leave or accompanying your partner to antenatal appointments, or does your employer really not yet understand the changes? Let us know!