With the ever evolving legislation surrounding maternity leave, the Equality and Human Rights Commission is proposing the introduction of ‘parental leave’, to replace the regulations which make the UK the most unequal country in Europe when it comes to these
Instead of the nine months paid leave available to women now, the Commission wants to bring in four months of parental leave for both mothers and fathers – eight weeks paid at 90% of your salary and the rest at the statutory rate. And to encourage more men
to take part, the leave will be on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis, although another four months part paid leave will be available for the parents to divide up however they wish. The idea is likely to be seriously considered by ministers although with the issue
already causing so much debate we’ll have to see what happens. The scheme would cost an extra £5 billion a year.
If this programme was put in place it could be revolutionary in changing the position of women in the workplace. In our research many women have cited being turned down for a promotion through fear that they’ll take maternity leave or being given less responsibility
due to having children. By making the arrangements more equal and having men taking time off too, this could have very positive effects on this kind of discrimination. However many business leaders are not so keen on the idea and say that in such difficult
times, it would not be an option for many companies. There is no easy solution that will please everybody but this idea sounds like it could be a productive one that allows both men and women to spend time with their children whilst maintaining successful
© Finextra Research 2014