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Royal Air Force


What contractual pay is offered to mothers* on maternity leave?

26wks Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML) paid at 100%.

13wks Additional Maternity Leave (AML) paid at SMP.

What contractual pay and leave is being offered to fathers/other parent who opt to take SPL?Father/Other parent can access 2 weeks Paternity Leave at 100% pay and upto 24wks of Shared Parental Leave paid at 100% on transfer from the mother if leave taken within the 26 week full pay period.
Does contractual pay have to be repaid if the employees does not to return?Arrangements for repayment of OML and/or SPL are made on an individual basis as Terms and Conditions of Service are considered.
Will entitlement to SPL be reduced according to SML already taken?The entitlement to SPL will be offset by the SML taken by the mother.
Is your contractual Shared Parental Pay reduced by the number of weeks of SMP received by the mother?The amount of paid SPL available will be offset by the SML taken by the mother.
Can SPL be taken from day one of employment?TBC
Is it tied to the date of the child’s birth?Yes. SPL can only be taken after the birth.
Are there any limitations on how SPL can be taken ie minimum continuous block?SPL must be taken in blocks of 7 calendar days.
Do you incentivise certain patterns of leave?We don’t incentivise patterns of leave
Do you offer a bonus on return from SPL if minimum period it taken?We don’t incentivise minimum SPL but we do offer ‘protection’ from deployment for women returning to work to support their choices in balancing a family and Armed Forces career.

*or primary adopter

How are you communicating and encouraging people to take SPL?

To ensure that communication regarding SPL was delivered to the widest RAF community and that HR staffs were aware of the complex suite of scenarios and opportunities a number of routes have been explored; a road show was delivered at 7 units, with a direct involvement of 175 personnel representing 34 stations, and a corporate ‘Defence Internal Notice’ was produced to provide policy guidance. For those who were not able to make the briefings the presentation was published on the RAF intranet and to assist new parents in navigating the policy, a New Parent Pack has been produced to incorporate information on all types of parenting leave and includes a broad selection of relevant information that can be tailored to the family circumstances of the new parent(s).

Can you describe what wider cultural changes needed to support SPL are being implemented?

The RAF has a strong Diversity and Inclusion culture and we have used this as a backdrop to introduce SPL.  In addition to our broader integration work we are keen to explore what our peers are doing and our occupational psychologists have a suite of research topics in progress such as a recent study into Flexible Working which will, once completed, feed directly into our Employment and Diversity policy.

What do you expect take up of SPL amongst fathers to be? Have you surveyed your employees about SPL and uptake?  Other surveys have shown that mothers may be unwilling to relinquish maternity leave: have you detected similar?

We considered the legacy and current take up rates for Maternity, Paternity Leave and Return to work rates across the RAF ahead of the development of our SPL package.  Given the complexity of the broader implications and the specific nature of the RAF’s activities we are unable to predict the take-up rates but we will be closely monitoring our workforce statistics.  We haven’t conducted specific focus groups but anecdotal evidence is that parents welcome the choice that SPL brings.

Do you have any insight into how parents might like to take SPL? Which is best for your business in terms of planning?

Having considered the research, workforce statistics, feedback from our SPL Road shows and staff engagement our early indications are:

  • there will be increased interest in extending the initial Paternity leave to create a longer block of time off for both parents together during the first couple of months.
  • personnel will utilise the SPL to facilitate the mother in returning to work.
  • personnel will consider utilisation of the SPL provision to take respite from the demands of the RAF and operational tempo.In terms of the business, there would be organisational benefit if the individual were to plan their SPL to be taken in a continuous period but we understand that life does not often fit into neat tidy packages and we will do our best to support our personnel.