Dads could share parental leave from 2015

Fathers will be able to share parental leave from work with their partners, under proposed new regulations outlined by the Government. The planned changes to the current system, which will come into force in spring 2015, will allow parents to share 52 weeks of parental leave between them, subject to equal notice period and pay regulations.

For the beauty industry, which employs a high number of women, this could mean a positive step towards supporting female employees back into the work place after having children.

The new regulations were announced last week by deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and business minister Jo Swinson, along with a report that stated the Government’s intentions to support both modern families and businesses. 

Clegg said, “We want to create a fairer society that gives parents the flexibility to choose how they share care for their child in the first year after birth. We need to challenge the old fashioned assumption that women will always be the parent that stays at home – many fathers want that option too.”

Under the regulations, couples would have to inform their respective employers about their intentions to take parental leave eights weeks before they take it, and are then allowed to alter their plans twice subsequently, in order to help business owners plan their workforce.

According to Swinson, this new system will help promote greater flexibility within the UK workforce and help working families. “Getting the detail right is crucial if shared parental leave is to drive a real cultural shift and help working dads play a greater role in their child’s early months,” she said.

“Employers too can gain from a system that allows them to keep talented women in the workforce and have more motivated and productive staff,” she continued.

However, critics of the regulations say the government is being inconsistent on the topic. Fionnuala Horrocks-Burns, a policy adviser at the support organisation the Forum of Private Business, said, “All businesses now accept the necessity of parental leave. All they ask is a little bit of consistency and clarity in policy.

“Year after year politicians change the laws in this area so it’s no wonder small businesses report an endless rise in the cost of compliance.”