The government’s decision to allow parents to share leave following the birth or adoption of their child has now become law. This means that couples with babies due or children matched or placed for adoption after 5 April 2015 will be able to share leave.
The process is fairly complicated so the NUJ is pleased to see that the TUC has produced new booklets aimed to explain the new rights.
The NUJ equality officer, Lena Calvert, said:
“We are pleased that shared parental leave has been introduced as this will hopefully begin to undermine the gender discrimination aimed at working women who become pregnant. However, we do have concerns that the legislation is complicated and that the Government has allowed employers to choose whether they will extend enhanced maternity pay to all new parents taking shared parental leave. This may mean that some more unscrupulous employers will level down and withdrawn enhanced maternity pay from expectant mothers rather than extending it to all parents wishing to take this leave. Obviously the decision to share parental leave will be up to each couple, but if the leave is only paid at the statutory minimum, it is unlikely that some parents will want to take it up.”
There is one TUC booklet for mothers and one for fathers and partners. Each booklet also covers other rights to time off and pay that working parents are eligible for.
The TUC will shortly be producing additional booklets on adoptive parents’ rights and rights for intended parents using surrogacy arrangements.
The TUC has also published a new report on pregnancy discrimination which provides real examples of how women have been mistreated in the workplace with some simple guidance on their rights at work.
The pregnancy test: ending discrimination at work for new mothers (December 2014).