THE Solihull-based Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP) cautiously welcomes the newly unveiled Children and Families Bill, which will introduce shared parental leave and see the extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees.

Reported on GOV.UK, the reforms will replace the existing system of parental leave with one that offers greater flexibility for mothers and fathers to fully share their parenting responsibilities as well as improve their link to the workplace during this period.

Under the Shared Parental Leave reforms: Employed mothers will still be entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave as a day one right Mothers can choose to end their maternity leave after the initial two-week recovery period, working parents can then decide how they want to share the remaining leave Fathers will gain a new right to take unpaid leave to attend two antenatal appointments There will be new statutory payment for parents on shared parental leave with the same qualifying requirements that currently apply to statutory maternity and paternity pay Those who have adopted a child will be entitled to the same pay and leave as birth parents Helen Hargreaves, senior policy and research officer at the CIPP, said: “The chartered institute cautiously welcomes this new bill, which solidifies the promises that the Government made in November in its response to the Modern Workplace consultation.

“We support any initiative which helps parents but inevitably there are widespread concerns about the additional burdens this may place on organisations due to an increase of requested leave.

“One of the ways that the Government is trying to curtail the burden on employers is by proposing self-certification of eligibility, which will place the onus on the employee to assess their entitlement to shared parental leave against set criteria.

“The CIPP is continuing to work closely with the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills as well as the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure that these burdens are kept to a minimum.”