Unpaid Parental Leave Increase DelayedSaturday, February 18th, 2012
The term “parental leave”, as currently used in employment legislation, refers to a period of up to four weeks’ unpaid leave in a year that may be taken by both natural and adoptive parents, but limited to:
- 13 weeks in the period up to a child’s fifth birthday, or,
- in the case of a disabled child, 18 weeks in the period up to the child’s 18th birthday.
The European Parental leave Directive, entering into force on 08 March 2012, required Member States to extend this provision by 5 weeks to 18 weeks. In May 2011, the Government confirmed its intention to comply with this change by increasing the statutory entitlement to 18 weeks for all children.
XpertHR have reported that they have spoken to the Department for Business, Enterprise and Skills (BIS) who have confirmed that the increase will not happen. Instead, the Government will use a ‘grace’ period which will allow the Directive to be delayed until March 2013.
This is a disappointing set-back in the Government’s plans to develop flexible, family-friendly workplaces. This was one of a number of changes that was to be bought in ahead of other changes, expected in 2015.
However, what will the real impact be on organisations of the delay – is the current 13 week entitlement one that is used by employees, or even understood? Companies have another year in which to make changes to their staff handbooks.