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‘Paid leave is too important to be relegated to a perk in talent wars’: Agencies aim to reshape shared parental leave policies

Digiday 25 May 2021 04:01
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May 25, 2021 by MaryLou Costa

Company policies to give parental leave for all genders are uncommon — but those that do exist are failing to make any real impact on gender equality in the workplace, according to some business leaders who spoke to Digiday. 

In the U.K. campaigners have called for a complete overhaul of the SPL (shared parental leave) system and agency leaders agree: it’s time to advance the narrative independently of legislation and government support.

“[SPL is] a wonderful thing that just doesn’t work most of the time,” said Dan Cullen-Shute, CEO of independent agency Creature London. “When we get to genuine equality between what people are paid and how they’re being supported, then it becomes a no-brainer.” 

SPL in the U.K. allows both new parents to share a year of leave at a set government rate of around £152 ($215) a week. But it has been heavily criticized for all its complex requirements, including cross-company communication among the primary caregivers’ respective HR departments. Only 4% of qualifying families have taken up the offer, while many others find it financially unviable, according to charity Maternity Action. 

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SPLShuteDan CullenKim Ydse KrogstadNorth Alliance
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