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Labs looks to Shared Parental Leave for improving work-life balance

October 01, 2018

Labs looks to Shared Parental Leave for improving work-life balance

Only about 2% of eligible parents take advantage of Shared Parental Leave — meaning many dads are missing out on the chance to bond with their child during that crucial first year after the child’s birth.

“Shared Parental Leave is definitely something we want to encourage in Labs so more families take it up,” stated Harriet Smith, HR Business Partner at Labs. “At Octopus we know the importance of giving fathers the opportunity to spend time with their new additions, and how much it can benefit their whole families during this special time.”

Labs realises businesses that promote and encourage employees to take full advantage of parental leave benefits have much to gain. Flexibility in work is proven to create a happier, more loyal and productive workforce. And giving both fathers and mothers parental leave can help improve the gender balance many offices struggle to achieve.

In 2015, the UK expanded parental leave for both men and women, allowing parents to choose whether to take leave together or divide up their leave time. Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) now allows eligible parents to share up to 52 weeks of leave and 39 weeks of pay.

“Taking SPL is one of the best things I’ve ever done,” stated David Bird of Octopus Investments. “With our first son, I wasn’t eligible as he was born before the rules came in. I quickly ended up feeling like a ‘weekend dad’ and struggled to get the work-life balance right. I took 6 months SPL with our second, and it was better for all of us.”

Deniz Sevincer of Octopus Investments found that SPL had many benefits for him and his wife, too. Their shared parental leave gave Deniz a real opportunity to bond with his baby and his wife a chance to get back to work earlier. In addition, not having to enroll in childcare during the baby’s first year meant a huge cost savings for their family.

Stated Deniz, “I am from Germany where childcare cost is a fraction of what it is in London. Realising how expensive it is here was a bit of a shock. As a result, I think that any support that Octopus or any employer can provide is really valuable.”