Print Industry Parental Leave: How Will It Affect Employers?
The reality is those who think these proposals are going to have a dramatic impact for the print industry, whether positive or negative, are probably well off the mark.
For women there is the opportunity to go back to work earlier if their partner chooses to take print industry parental leave to provide child care but, realistically, the probable loss in the partner’s earnings would be at least as much as paying for child care so there is unlikely to have a significant impact.
Print Industry Parental Leave: What Changes?
The big changes are for fathers, but again I can’t see a big shift in behaviour in the print industry. The right for parents to share 52 weeks print industry parental leave between them is likely to be the most controversial but again I can’t see it having a major impact for purely economic reasons let alone the cultural shift. There will be a new statutory payment which is likely to be equivalent to maternity / paternity pay, currently £135.45 per week. This is massively below minimum wage let alone the average earnings in the print sector. I just doesn’t make any sense to assume that droves of fathers in the print industry will suddenly decide to stay at home for months to look after their new born children. Beyond this fathers are already entitled to 2 weeks ordinary paternity leave and up to 26 weeks addition paternity leave, if the mother returns to work, which experience tells us they aren’t taking.
I’m not against fathers having a more active role; I think fathers and children benefit hugely from greater paternal involvement; it just doesn’t seem realistic. Other than isolated examples the worst case is that employers may find a few male employees wish to take a bit longer than the 2 weeks ordinary paternity leave they are currently entitled to. However bearing in mind the lack of take up for Additional Paternity leave its unlikely.
It is disappointing to see legislation proposed to provide the right to unpaid leave for two antenatal appointments. There are lots of Print industry employers who are flexible enough to allow fathers print industry parental leave anyway. Clearly if someone on shift has a machine to run its not so straight forward to take so time off, but our experience is that typically shifts can be swapped and cover provided and it just doesn’t become an issue.
The bottom line, as with the right to flexible working, is that in Print industry employers where there is a reasonable culture, and it is the majority, there is little to fear. Where there is recognition from both sides that a bit of give and take is good for employees and employers; morale and motivation are high and a positive, flexible workforce pull out the stops when necessary these changes will have little impact.