Shared leave policy is a confused mess | Letter

The system is in urgent need of reform, writes Peter Moss

The feature on “shared parental leave” (The couples who share parental leave – and its highs and lows, 1 December) failed to explain that this policy is not parental leave at all, but transferable maternity leave with use by fathers dependent on their partner’s agreement to transfer a part of her maternity leave. Genuine parental leave is an entitlement equally available to both parents. Though not mentioned in your article, it does exist in the UK due to an EU directive, with each parent entitled to 18 weeks’ non-transferable parental leave, albeit unpaid and only available for four weeks per year. The UK’s leave policy is confused, confusing and dysfunctional, and in urgent need of reform. This is unlikely to happen while misleading terminology goes unquestioned and alternatives that might lead to more equal sharing of childcare are unexamined.
Emeritus Professor Peter Moss
International Network on Leave Policies and Research

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