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Employee Benefits News

Latest News
03 Aug 2015

Accenture encouraging employees to take shared parental leave

Management consulting services company Accenture is encouraging uptake of shared parental leave (SPL) among its staff by following the journeys of some of its first male employees to take advantage of the new legislation, HR Magazine reports.

Working Families, a charity that promotes a positive work-life balance for both men and women, has named Accenture a SPL Pioneer for its commitment to the cause and its progressive SPL policies.

As Sam Clark - Accenture´s managing director of UK and Ireland human resources - explains: “It´s one thing having a policy, and it´s another thing encouraging take-up of that policy.”

So as part of its plan to encourage more workers to request SPL, Accenture is using its internal communications network to share the experiences of male colleagues as they take their entitled leave.

“We will profile some of these men as they go on their parental leave and as they return to try to shine a light on it,” Clark told the publication. “Hopefully it becomes known that people are using this benefit and are enjoying it. We´ll then start to get a bit of momentum around it.”

Having spoken to colleagues in countries with similar parental leave legislation, Clark learned that “it takes time” for such policies to catch on; but so far there has been a fair amount of interest, with around 20 fathers expressing their desire to take SPL. Clark predicts that “that number will grow” as it starts to become more widely adopted.

Shared parental leave - which Clark feels has the potential to be a “fairly significant game changer in terms of equality” - was introduced in April this year. Parents now have greater flexibility when it comes to caring for their newborn child; they can now share parental leave between them, either taking it together to bond as a family, or in turns so that each parent gets time to look after the child while the other goes to work.

Both mothers and fathers have welcomed the ruling, says Clark, who added: “We discussed this at a very senior level and we spoke to the fathers in the room. One said: ‘I wish this had been around in time for me, because I definitely would have used it.´”

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