The consultations are seeking views on:
- possible reform of family-related leave and pay
- proposals for neonatal leave and pay
- proposals to encourage employers to be more transparent about their flexible working policies, and their parental leave and pay policies.
Reform of family-related leave and pay
The Government is reviewing the Shared Parental Leave system, with a report expected at the end of the year. They want feedback on how the system is working, whether it needs to be simplified and how to increase uptake by fathers.
The Government is seeking similar feedback on paternity leave. Ideas include making it longer, increasing the pay, or a balance between the two. Parental leave is currently unpaid and has very low uptake, and again the Government want feedback.
More radically, the Government would like submissions on a full shake up of family related leave, including the idea of abolishing all current categories and creating a personal pot of flexible leave.
Parents whose babies are premature or require neonatal care face special challenges. They often find that a big chunk of their leave (or all of it, in the case of paternity leave) is taken up with hospital time, leaving them no time to enjoy their new-born. The Government is consulting on giving parents in this position an extra week of leave for every week their new-born spends in hospital.
Family friendly policies for large employers
The Government would like to encourage large employers to be more open about family friendly policies. The consultation is asking for views on requiring employers with more than 250 employees to publish flexible working and family leave policies on their websites. They also want views on a new reporting obligation to publish statistics on take up of flexible working (in a similar manner to gender pay gap reporting).
One of the concerns the Government has is that job adverts so rarely offer flexible working upfront. It is usually something that has to be raised by employees at interview or in their application. The Government is consulting on requiring large employers to consider whether a job can be done flexibly and to set out their assessment in the advert.
If you would like to get involved in the consultation and help shape the proposals, submissions can be made here.