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    Employers urged to encourage more shared parental leave

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    A new Government advertising campaign known as Share the Joy, is seeking to encourage more parents to take up the offer of Shared Parental Leave in their baby’s first year.

    This comes after it was revealed that take up is as low two per cent and around half the population are unaware that the option exists for parents.

    The parental leave legislation came into force in April 2015 and allows eligible parents to share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay after having a baby. They can take time off separately or they can be at home together for up to six months.

    “With Mother’s Day around the corner this is a timely reminder for all new parents or those trying for a family that shared parental leave is an option they could both take up,” said Adrian Lewis, commercial director at Activ Absence.

    “This progressive legislation was designed to give greater flexibility and choice to families, however, the reality is many new fathers in particular can feel unable to take it up.”

    However, there are certain challenges for employers to overcome including finding cover for maternity and paternity leave and not leaving it up to other colleagues to ‘pick up the slack’.

    Lewis added: “To manage shared paternity effectively, companies need the right systems in place. Absence management software for instance can help companies manage the administration of the shared parental leave and reduce the disruption to business and impact on productivity levels.

    “Such systems can manage any kind of absence; including sickness, holidays or even dental appointments, as well as helping facilitate flexible working practices. Having up to date information of where people are at any one time enables businesses to manage shared parental leave effectively and confidently plan ahead in terms of strategy, projects and resources.

    “Implementing absence management software also allows businesses to do more to encourage their workforce to take up shared parental leave when they have a family – something that can improve employee engagement and inspire greater staff loyalty.”

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    Jade Burke

    Jade Burke, Editor for PA Life

    All stories by: Jade Burke