@ NCT Shared Parental Leave Session

The NCT Shared Parental Leave Q & A session with the MP, Jo Swinson, was finally going to happen this time, no date changes! I planned to leave home for a 10.45am arrival and 11am start; unfortunately, I forgot to factor in potential traffic. Well, a lot that could go wrong surely went wrong but I am glad I kept going and even more so that I made it there; albeit 20 mins before the session ended. 🙁

So delighted when we finally saw our destination. :-)

So delighted when we finally saw our destination. 🙂

One of the comments that stood out most for me at the session was by a lovely lady, who made the point that Shared Parental Leave makes gender discrimination on the basis of potential Leave as a parent harder. This is because Shared Parental Leave can now be taken by men for many more months than the former Additional Paternity Leave afforded them; in fact, for longer than a woman might choose to take Maternity Leave (all within the 1 year limit).

It is a shame that some businesses do not see the opportunity that Shared Parental Leave offers them in growing committed and reliable employees with a high productivity level. I believe a lot of parents are effective and efficient employees; parenting afterall teaches to multitask, organise, plan, manage, and be resourceful in a way that nothing else does. Indeed, a lot of parents are compelled to be better time and task managers at work so that they can give adequate time to their family when they are at home. Hence, I think that the more parents feel supported by their employers, the more obliged they will feel towards them, and the more they’ll probably care about doing their best at their jobs after Shared Parental Leave.

I was thankful to be given the time to ask my questions before the session ended and the MP was gracious in her response even when I went on a bit. I found her clarification that the length of statutory pay (39 weeks) remains unchanged, helpful; I of course wish it was longer. However, as she indicated, Shared Parental Leave is a step in the right direction, not the goal. I was also thrilled to learn from Jo about how mums can benefit from both Maternity Leave and Shared Parental Leave; so, a mum can return to work for a period of time after Maternity Leave before taking her Shared Parental Leave.

In addition to these, I was glad to highlight my point about the need to create a Maternity Entitlement Information / Reference Pack, clearly differentiating between what is statutory and what is best practice, especially in relation to breastfeeding on returning to work. This pack can be given to mums-to-be by HR before they take their Maternity Leave. This way, new mums don’t have to tear their hair out trying to make sense of sometimes contradictory or / and inaccurate information on the internet; and thus, manage their expectations about their entitlements better.

MP, Jo Swinson engaging with us after the session. :-)

MP, Jo Swinson engaging with us after the session. 🙂 She gave us extra time even though she had to leave.

Jo Swinson is so friendly and approachable, I don’t know what I expected from an MP really, but she felt like ‘one of us’ in some way; a relatively new mum and a working mum to another. It was nice to see her interacting with the attendees after the session; she seemed to relate and connect with our key concerns. As we discussed, this is an issue we all have to face, there’s no way around it; parents make a most important contribution to society by having children and they deserve society’s support with this vital task.

My Precious Sparkle having fun at the NCT Oficce after the session.

My Precious Sparkle having fun at the NCT Office after the session. 🙂

I left the session with the knowledge that the ramifications of Shared Parental Leave are much wider than I had been aware, and the consequences for employers, especially small businesses, and employees are far-reaching. There are of course other related issues that parents will like more help with, like having all childcare costs as a tax-free work expense, further clarification of statutory entitlements for mums breastfeeding at work and more implementation support for employers, longer leave allowance for multiple births etc. Nonetheless, it must be acknowledged that Parents of children born after April 5 2015 in this country are better off with this new Shared Parental Leave, which offers way more flexibility for working parents than ever before.

Thanks to the NCT for organising this session and for being so accommodating of our needs, and thanks to Jo for answering our questions. Click here for a brief video about Shared Parental Leave by Jo.

My lovely NCT contact playing with my Treasured Gem. :-)

My lovely NCT contact playing with my Precious Sparkle 🙂

What opinion, questions or concerns do you have about the new Shared Parental Leave?

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14 thoughts on “@ NCT Shared Parental Leave Session

  1. I do think it’s a great step in the right direction for having equal rights at work as parents 🙂

    I work in HR and attend one of our bi-yearly legal updates. They mentioned this and one interesting question that was put forward by my boss was:

    What checks are companies going to put in place so that parents who are employed by different companies, don’t use this new legislation to their advantage and both end up being off at the same time, each claiming to be the only parent on maternity/paternity.

    it will be interesting to see what guidelines the government sets for businesses to check that only one parent is off at once.

    • Hello Ash, thanks so much for dropping by; your Etsy Giftcard Giveaway looks good. Shared Parental Leave is definitely a good step in levelling that workplace playing for all. Very good question from your boss. Actually, the legislation allows for both parents to be off at the same time, this is what I understand anyway. However, altogether, they can not take more than 52 weeks Parental Leave between themselves. It really allows for a lot more flexibility than the previous legislation. I’m planning to write more about this more in another post or two about Shared Parental Leave by the end of next week; it’ll be lovely to know what you think.

    • Great question – and the answer is partly that they can take time off together, and to stop them taking more than the total maximum of 50 weeks they will both have to counter-sign the same form which sets out the amount of mat leave taken, and then how much SPL each are taking. Giving false information on this will be fraud. Both employers will receive the same form so they don’t need to check with each other. Thanks for the blog and for coming along to the event!

      • Thanks so much for dropping by … it means a massive lot! Thanks for leading this change and helping to narrow the gender inequality gap we still have in society. You’ve really helped me to understand Shared Parental Leave better and I hope to benefit from it in the future. It’ll be interesting to see how business implement this and I hope that its aims will be achieved for many people. Thanks for the 50 weeks clarification.

    • Thanks for your comment, I really appreciate it. Shared Parental Leave is definitely a big help for families and closing the gender inequality gap in the work place; I hope it works as designed when it takes effect in April 2015.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this- I’m glad you got there in the end! I think shared parental leave can work really well for some families and I hope that those families are able to get the most from it too. For us, it has never been a workable option as my husband has always earned so much more than me- primary school teachers are not on the best wage! More than that though, I wanted to be with the kids. This time I’m self employed and wasn’t eligible for maternity pay so have been back at work (working from home) since Elsie was 3 weeks. Emotionally this was so hard to do, and practically we are only just settling into a routine that works. I wish my husband had been able to take more time from his work to help us, especially as I had a section. Unfortunately as he is also self employed we just couldn’t afford it and thats a real shame as often I think he misses out while he’s away.
    Thanks for sharing more info on this and for linking up to #MaternityMatters x x
    ghostwritermummy recently posted…An IUGR baby: reflux, tongue tie and a cow’s milk protein allergyMy Profile

    • Yeah, I was so glad I got there in the end too, ghostwritermummy! If all the right factors come together, Shared Parental Leave is definitely very handy. However, I know there are concern about its implementaton, especially by small businesses. It also probably doesn’t have as much benefit for the self employed, like other parental leaves. Sorry that your family hasn’t been able to benefit from it, it must be somewhat annoying for you. Working form home since Elsie was 3 weeks? That must be really difficult. I wish you all the best on your journey; thanks for sharing your situation, it helps to be mindful of individual stories when considering government policies. Thanks also for your linky.

  3. I think this is so a brilliant idea, and one that will definitely benefit a lot of people! I definitely agree there needs to be more info given out to expectant mums, I was clueless when sorting out my maternity leave last time, and still unsure for this time! Xx

    • I agree with you; definitely progress in the right direction for working parents. Maybe, we should start a petition about giving working pregnant mums more information about their maternity leave entitlements and impact. Do ask questions you’re sure about, it’s important to know; this is one of those situations where knowing can definitely be empowering. Thanks for dropping by.

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