Maternity Action has published a report on how they believe the shared parental leave provisions should be reformed. The charity suggests that the current scheme just doesn’t work. Government data shows that only 3.6 per cent of eligible fathers took shared parental leave in 2019-2020, compared to a government target of 25 per cent. Only two per cent of new fathers took shared parental leave in 2019. The pandemic has increased the gender childcare gap, so the charity is keen to find new ways of supporting working parents.
The suggestion is that the system of sharing or transferring leave between parents has not worked. The report proposes a new system of individual non-transferable rights for each parent. The radical model proposed would replace both statutory maternity leave and shared parental leave, creating a ‘6-6-6’ model. The first six months of leave would be reserved for the mother, followed by six months of non-transferable leave for each parent. The leave could be taken at the same time by parents or one after the other, all in one go or broken down into smaller blocks of weeks or months up to 18 months after the birth.
The report also recommends maternity, paternity and parental leave and pay should be day one rights regardless of employment status. The right to return to the same job after any period of leave should be strengthened, and the statutory leave pay should be increased to national minimum wage levels and potentially beyond. Read the report here:
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