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Business Bite-sized Chunks – Brighton & Hove Chamber Members Share Nuggets Of Wisdom

This week Fiona Martin, co-founding director of Martin Searle Solicitors talks about Shared Parental Leave and how it could benefit your business.

The introduction of Shared Parental Leave (SPL) has the potential to provide real benefits for your business – not least, if you operate in our growing Digital Media Community where these new rules could help to attract the best candidates and freelancers.

Legal Rights

The new legal entitlement for eligible parents of babies born or adopted after 5 April is to share 50 weeks of leave between them. The mother still has to take the first two weeks herself.

The starting point is to make sure all employees – male and female – are aware of the changes. Employees who take SPL have the option of returning to work between periods of leave, so develop a policy, which details how your business considers requests for both continuous and discontinuous periods of leave. Establish a positive association by treating anyone who requests SPL fairly.

Benefits

Many of Brighton’s digital media companies already offer fantastic  benefits, which encourage work/life balance. However, there are few that offer enhanced maternity or paternity pay. Providing enhanced Shared Parental Pay (SPP) over and above the current prescribed rate of £138.18, (£139.58 from 5 April), is an opportunity to show just how committed your business is to equality and diversity. For employees who are planning a family, this could be a major factor in choosing their employer. It is important to offer enhanced parental pay to both men and women to avoid potential discrimination claims.

Enhanced SPP to attract more talent

Enhanced pay for male employees would enable them to make a real choice about spending time with their new-borns. Talented local freelancers could be encouraged to apply for employed roles as the flexibility in their child’s first year plus long-term security might outweigh losing their freedom as a self-employed consultant.  Key female employees may return to their role sooner and male and female employees could break up the 50-week period into chunks. Not only would this reduce recruitment and training costs but smaller periods of leave are often easier to manage. The winners in business are likely to be those employers who see the possibilities in creating a working culture which emphasises equality for all.

About the author

Martin Searle Solicitors

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Founded in Brighton in 2004, Martin Searle Solicitors is an award-winning law firm providing specialist legal advice and support in employment law for employers and employees, as well as expert guidance and legal advice in community care law.

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