Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Small businesses may not be able to follow Virgin’s lead on shared paternity leave

Virgin has introduced a new policy that all businesses should be bringing in to help build equality between mothers and fathers in the workplace, says one of the leading HR Software developers Activ Absence

Yesterday, Sir Richard Branson announced Virgin Managements new shared parental leave policy, with parents and those who have adopted now entitled to a year-long shared leave period.

This is an improvement on the Government’s statutory policy introduced earlier this year, which allowed partners to share up to 50 weeks of leave, but only at 90% of pay. 

Adrian Lewis, Commercial Director of Codel, the developers of Activ Absence, said:

“Clearly Virgin is a large business who strive to exceed minimum legal requirements when it comes to staff benefits and I’m sure the Virgin staff will welcome the move.  It’s certainly nice to think that parents will be able to share that important first year.” 

However, Mr. Lewis was a little more cautious as to how this news will be received by smaller organisations, saying:

“It’s admirable that Virgin seek to do so much for their staff, but I’m not sure smaller businesses will be able to handle the complex administration needed to adequately manage statutory shared paternity leave, let alone afford to be so generous. 


Originally fathers were only entitled to two weeks Paternity Leave, and then 26 weeks paid Additional Paternity Leave if their partner went back to work. This new policy allows people to choose who looks after the baby instead of forcing one or both of the parents back to work, but how the new provisions can be monitored and administered practically by smaller organisations is yet to be observed in practice - our software has the provision for it, but many businesses still manage leave via a spreadsheet.”

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