Shared Parental Leave

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons on 23rd January 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Laura Trott Laura Trott Conservative, Sevenoaks

What steps the Government Equalities Office is taking to help promote shared parental leave.

Photo of Kelly Tolhurst Kelly Tolhurst Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

Since 2018, we have run annual communications campaigns to promote shared parental leave to parents and employers, to help employers who do not already have bespoke policies in place. We are developing models, policies and guidance to help employers understand how they might put shared parental leave into practice.

Photo of Laura Trott Laura Trott Conservative, Sevenoaks

One big barrier to the take-up of shared parental leave is that businesses often do not offer enhanced pay to fathers who are taking it up. What steps is the Minister’s Department taking to encourage businesses to do this?

Photo of Kelly Tolhurst Kelly Tolhurst Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

First, I would like to welcome my hon. Friend to this place—it is great to have another female elected in my county of Kent. We are exploring options to improve the tools and guidance that can support parents and employers to make greater use of shared parental leave, including model policies for employers. We are also evaluating the scheme, looking at how it can be used in practice and at what we can do to support take-up. We will be reporting on the evaluation later in the year.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

Mr Speaker, if we are going to take this seriously, will we look at making this House an exemplar of shared parental leave? I understand that we can now have locums, but there are no funds to provide finance for them. Does the Minister think the House should be leading on this?

Photo of Kelly Tolhurst Kelly Tolhurst Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that question. I would welcome any organisation that has the right policies in place to encourage all eligible employers to take up that offer; it is probably a matter for the House, but I would very much welcome this.