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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Firms sign up to better paternity deal

Deloitte and PwC are among the first UK businesses to announce their intention to offer enhanced paternity packages

Nick Clegg today urged more companies to follow suit as the Big Four firms, along with global energy company Shell, announced plans to improve the access to paid leave fathers are offered after the birth of their children.

The announcements coincide with the release of a new study by online parenting community Mumsnet, which revealed that 39% of fathers took paid annual leave to get time off after the birth of a child, and 80% of parents said they would have preferred the father to take more paternity leave.

Clegg said he was “delighted” the firms were taking positive steps by providing flexible working arrangements.

He said, “ I’m calling on employers to set an example when it comes to offering flexible working arrangements so that working parents are empowered to make their own decisions in their own time. We know this boosts productivity, loyalty and retention of staff in the workplace so this is not just about common sense. It makes financial sense too.”

In April 2015, new legislation will allow mothers, fathers, partners and adopters to opt for Shared Parental Leave, which will see eligible parents sharing a period of their maternity or adoption leave with their partner, including sharing statutory pay.

Deloitte today said its shared parental leave will match its current maternity package of 16 weeks' full pay, followed by 10 weeks' half pay.

Emma Codd, managing partner for talent at Deloitte, said that for the government's policy on improving the help available for working families to be successful, more wide-spread adoption would be needed.

She said, “We’re encouraged by the changes that the government is introducing, which have the potential for a hugely positive impact, but meeting that potential requires wide-spread adoption.

“Beyond SPL, we are introducing additional enhanced parental policies, including paid time off for fathers and partners to attend ante-natal appointments, and for co-adopters to attend adoption appointments. Additionally, we’ll be offering those who become parents through surrogacy the same leave and pay entitlement as other parents.”

Gaenor Bagley, head of people at PwC, said, “We have always offered flexible working to all and will now offer fathers the same benefits we offer to mothers through our enhanced maternity package.

“I see this as being a critical move to level the playing field, and an integral part of PwC's strategy, to ensure that all of our employees have the same options and opportunities."


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