So, what’s been happening?
On 19 July 2019, the government published the Good Work Plan, which set out three separate consultations, including reforming family-related leave and pay. The government wanted to evaluate various possibilities, including increasing paternity leave or pay and reforming the SPL system. This consultation closed on 29 November 2019 and the government’s response is awaited.
In the Spring 2020 Budget, the government announced that it would consider how to provide appropriate support to self-employed parents, in order that they can continue to run their businesses, as part of the wider review of parental pay and leave.
In April 2021, the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Maternity Action and the Fawcett Society advised the government to reform the SPL scheme, which they described as “deeply flawed” and underused, and urged them to publish their evaluation of the same (which had been delayed).
On 14 May 2021, the government responded to the Women and Equalities Committee’s report on the gendered economic impact of COVID-19, stating that it was considering proposals to require large employers to publish their parental leave and pay policies.
On 31 March 2023, in response to two written questions the government published figures showing the number of people who have taken SPL since it was introduced. The figures from the report show that each year, between 2015/2016 and 2021/2022, the number of people taking SPL gradually increased. For women, the number almost tripled, from 1,100 to 3,200 and for men, the number nearly doubled, from 5,100 to 9,800.
However, the total number of men and women taking SPL in 2021/2022 remains low, at 13,000.
The government also confirmed that it is still considering the information received in response to the 2019 consultation on options to reform parental leave and pay and will respond to the consultation “in due course”. Given the time it has had to already consider this, there is the hope that this will be sooner rather than later.
SPL requests are something that, currently, do not crop up very often. There are specific steps that need to be taken if someone does make a request for SPL.
If you need any help or advice in relation to dealing with a request for SPL, please reach out to us on:
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