On Tuesday 11th September, as part of our #MindTheGap campaign, we brought together industry figures to discuss the issue of shared parental leave. With key speakers across a range of companies, guests were able to gain expert insight from those with direct experience of the issue. We spoke to Jenny Kelly, Client Relationship Business Partner at Computer Futures, who has been running the #MindTheGap campaign to great success since late 2017.

According to Jenny, “It was really interesting to gain insight into different company values and I think it was definitely useful to learn more about the diverse policies that have been established. For example, it was encouraging to hear from various people, such as Jake Hobson, Senior Diversity & Inclusion Consultant at Ernest & Young, who spoke about how the company are actively doing more to support parents on this issue, as well as wider diversity and inclusion issues.”

Sarah Jackson, an ambassador for Working Families, covered various key points. She revealed that currently in the UK, only 60% of fathers qualify for shared parental leave, and there are numerous factors that come into play when being considered; issues such as length of employment can impact whether the leave would be approved. More interestingly, only 2% of fathers in the UK are currently taking shared parental leave. If we’re going to see an increase into families taking up these programmes, it’s important that companies market these policies correctly, and ensure that employees have all of the relevant information so that they can make an informed decision. Furthermore, at the moment, fathers are only entitled to statutory pay when on parental leave. If we’re to fully achieve quality, Sarah believes that pay should be matched.

We also heard from Adam Jeffers, Delivery Manager at the Money Supermarket Group, who shared a very personal, engaging and funny take on his experience. As a new father, he’s currently returning to work after enjoying shared parental leave. He discussed various aspects of the topic, touching on the pros and cons, and weighing up reality vs. expectation – which was extremely insightful. We would highly recommend you read his blog.

Parin Lad of Salesforce told us how he was the first within Salesforce to go on Shared Parental Leave and helped to shape the policy going forward. Parin is a key member of their Parentforce programme, which offers a wealth of tools to support working parents. He spoke about how Salesforce as an employer were very accommodating to his situation. By allowing him to return to work for 3 days a week, he was able to achieve a better work-life balance and have a greater role in the development of his two young daughters. His story has helped inspire many others within Saleforce to do the same.

Jenny also shared her personal perspective on the topic, “As an expecting mother, it was really interesting to hear people talking about this. There were a lot of different take-aways and various points were raised. My personal circumstance allowed me to really enjoy the event on another level.”

Jenny Kelly will be hosting the next #MindTheGap event on 24th October looking at the topic of Female Leadership Programmes, and how they can help to close the Gender Pay Gap. If you’d like to register for this event, please click here.

You can also view and download the presentation from the event here.