Sep 2019


Schools are back! Using Parental Leave to help your staff get a good work-life balance

Many employees find it tough to balance their work responsibilities with the demands placed on them in their home and family lives. This is never more obvious than with the return of schools this week – school drop offs and collections, preparing healthy lunches for fussy little eaters, extra-curricular activities to attend, homework battles and an increase in time spent stuck in traffic are all too familiar occurrences come September….

Employers can support their staff by helping them adjust to their new daily routine through flexible working options and/or reduced hours working arrangements. Employers, however, will need to manage these requests carefully, ensuring there are no substantially adverse effects on their business. Very recently, there has been a number of changes made to Parental Leave that employers should be aware of.

So, what’s new with Parental Leave?

  • Parental Leave entitlement has increased from 18 to 22 weeks. This is going to further increase again on 1st September 2020 to 26 weeks. Employers should be aware that, for their employees who have already taken their current entitlement, they will be able to take the additional 8 weeks of leave - provided they meet the eligibility requirements.
  • The leave can be taken at any time prior to the child turning 12 years old. This was previously set at 8 years old. So any leave not taken previously, due to the fact that the child in question reached the previous limit of 8 years, will now become available for employees to use again.

What should I do?

As an employer, you will now need to update your Parental Leave policies to reflect these new changes (If you use our Bright Contracts package, we have updated these for you already in the Handbook section!). You need to put in place a process for keeping Parental Leave records – these need to be retained for 12 years.

You should review every application for Parental Leave very carefully – weighing up the impact of this request for both the staff member and your business. Parental Leave can be taken as either a block period or as single days. Staff must give you 6 weeks notice of any leave they wish to take. You can postpone a Parental Leave application request, based on business needs, for up to 6 months.

What are the benefits of being seen as a flexible employer?

  • You can attract top talent as you will create a culture that respects and recognises that your staff have priorities outside of work.
  • Improved retention of staff and less staff turnover as they are better able to manage their time. They will not feel under as much pressure or that it is not sustainable for them to keep working with you.
  • Improved employee well-being – their emotional and mental health can benefit by being able to successfully multi-task family and work duties.
  • Improved employee morale and loyalty to their employer.
  • Improved diversity. As childcare still falls mainly on women, female talent is more likely to be retained as you have made facilities available to them to enable them to keep working.

There is no doubt that employers are increasingly supporting their staff by helping them to balance the demands of working versus homelife. In this current climate of skills shortages and demands for talented, committed staff, it is hoped that progressive steps such as flexible working options will enable parents, juggling these conflicting demands, to remain in the workplace and feel supported by their employer when doing so.

Book a demo of Bright Contracts today to find out how you can keep your Parental Leave policies updated and compliant with employment legislation.

BrightPay Payroll Software | Thesaurus Payroll Software

Posted byNicola SheridaninParental Leave