|What contractual pay is offered to mothers* on maternity leave?||We offer enhanced maternity pay which is 20 weeks at full pay.
|What contractual pay and leave is being offered to fathers/other parent who opt to take SPL?||Assuming the father/co-parent is eligible, they are entitled to share a maximum of 50 weeks’ leave and 37 weeks’ Statutory Shared Parental Pay. If the father or co-parent is eligible for SPL, they will also be eligible for our enhanced SPL pay. The total maximum amount of enhanced pay on offer where an employee takes maternity leave, adoption leave, paternity leave or SPL (or a combination of these) is 20 weeks.|
|Does contractual pay have to be repaid if the employee does not to return?||Yes, if the employee decides not to return to work, or leaves the firm within 12 months, we will seek to reclaim any enhanced pay (pro rated as applicable).|
|Will entitlement to SPL be reduced according to SML already taken?||
Yes – In total the amount of leave available to share will be 50 weeks as the mother is still required to take 2 weeks compulsory maternity leave.
The amount of SPL available will then depend on the amount of SML already taken.
|Is your contractual Shared Parental Pay reduced by the number of weeks of SMP received by the mother?||
Yes – The amount of SSPP available to share will depend on how much SMP was received by the mother. In total , a maximum of 37 weeks’ SSPP will be available to share.
An AG employee is allowed up to 20 weeks of enhanced pay (whether that comprises SPL alone, is a combination of maternity leave and SPL, or any other combination). We do not factor in any enhanced pay being taken by a co-parent (whether that co-parent is employed by the firm or by another employer).
|Can SPL be taken from day one of employment?||No – To be eligible for SPL, the mother must have 26 weeks’ continuous service ending with the 15th week before the EWC.|
|Is it tied to the date of the child’s birth?||Yes – SPL must be taken within the first 52 weeks of the child’s birth. However, we have not tied our enhanced pay to the date of the child’s birth.|
|Are there any limitations on how SPL can be taken i.e. minimum continuous block?||No – We are not incentivising employees to take a single block of leave; we are offering them the flexibility and choice over how they would like to take leave. As such, they can take separate blocks of leave if they prefer.|
|Do you incentivise certain patterns of leave?||No|
|Do you offer a bonus on return from SPL if minimum period it taken?||No|
*or primary adopter
How are you communicating and encouraging people to take SPL?
In December 2014, a member of the Firm’s Executive team sent an email to all UK employees communicating the new system of SPL and attaching a “crib sheet” with some basic information.
The Firm’s parental policies were then updated to reflect SPL and a communication was sent to all employees informing them of this and the other legislative changes which had been reflected in the firm’s updated Parental Policies.
To encourage uptake we have incorporated information on SPL into our employee and line manager guides and have promoted these across the Firm via messages on our intranet and emails. All of the HR operational team have been trained on the Firm’s SPL policy so they are aware of the eligibility requirements and process for taking SPL and are able to support employees and line managers.
Can you describe what wider cultural changes needed to support SPL are being implemented?
We carried out a series of focus groups with some of our working parents to assess the current level of support offered to this group and to see what additional initiatives we could introduce. Based on this feedback we introduced networking lunches for new and expectant parents within the firm. These lunches have provided us with an opportunity for us to promote the initiatives we have in place, in particular, SPL.
We believe that our SPL policy is more flexible than many others’ as we are giving our employees the flexibility to take SPL in separate blocks (while still receiving enhanced pay) and to receive enhanced SPL regardless of when the leave is taken in the first year. This gives parents a greater choice and flexibility in how they share their child’s care in the first year of his or her life. We hope this generous and flexible approach means we are likely to see greater take up from employees.
We have created a dedicated page on our intranet which is a one stop portal for employees to access information on the above initiatives, parental policies, benefits etc. This makes it very easy and simple for employees to access information on our parental policies.
What do you expect take up of SPL amongst fathers to be? Have you surveyed your employees about SPL and uptake? Other surveys have shown that mothers may be unwilling to relinquish maternity leave: have you detected similar?
We have not carried out a survey to assess uptake but for us success will ultimately be about whether we see fathers/co-parents using our SPL policy. We expect to see reasonably good take up given the flexibility we have built into the policy and the generous enhanced pay element. So far, we have received two requests.
Anecdotal evidence does indeed suggest some women may be reluctant to relinquish maternity leave, but by introducing a generous and flexible SPL policy we are offering real, practical support for fathers and hope that this is the first step in creating a cultural change where it is seen as acceptable for men to take time out of work to care for their children as it is for women.
Do you have any insight into how parents might like to take SPL? Which is best for your business in terms of planning?
It is difficult to answer this question at present. Our policy is generous in that it gives employees the flexibility to take leave when it works best for them. They can take leave in discontinuous blocks and still receive enhanced pay. Enhanced pay is also not tied to the date of the child’s birth meaning that parents will receive enhanced pay regardless of when they take SPL (so long as the leave falls within the first year). Therefore, this could mean that parents may prefer to split the leave and take leave in discontinuous blocks rather than a single block of lea