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Increase the Joy: Improving Shared Parental Leave

Published: 14 May 2018

As the advertising element of the government’s ‘Share the Joy’ campaign promoting Shared Parental Leave (SPL) draws to a close, Working Families’ CEO Sarah Jackson has today written to Business Minister Andrew Griffiths MP on the next steps for the scheme.

Supported by twelve professional and voluntary sector organisations with an interest in family and work policy, Working Families’ position paper sets out four simple reforms that would help more families benefit from SPL and ‘increase the joy’.  These are:

  1. Making SPL a day one right, open to all employees from the start of their employment (as maternity leave is for mothers)
  2. Extending SPL to self-employed parents, as proposed in Tracy Brabin MP’s Shared Parental Leave and Pay (Extension) Bill
  3. Allowing fathers that have been made redundant to retain their Shared Parental Pay and;
  4. Permitting parents to opt for SPL rather than maternity leave, after the death of their child.

Sarah said:

There are simple reforms the Government could make to the scheme – making it a day-one right, as maternity leave is, and extending the scheme to self-employed parents – to allow more families to benefit.  We very much hope they will be considered as part of the government’s forthcoming review of the scheme.

But ultimately, offering fathers a properly paid period of independent leave alongside shared parental leave is what will really help the UK go further on the journey towards equality at work and at home.

Bliss, Family & Childcare Trust, Family Friendly Working Scotland, Fathers Network Scotland, Fawcett Society, Parental Pay Equality, Unison, University & College Union, YESS Law and the Young Women’s Trust – all Families and Work Group members – are supporting Working Families’ position, as are the Centre for Social Justice and law firm Cloisters.

Read the full position paper

Watch our range of short films about Shared Parental Leave