Birthday Pegging - why it is BAD for Dads (and everyone else!) #smallprint

If you're thinking of popping out a baby, I highly recommend have a perusal over your employer's Shared Parental Leave Policy - including the small print.

You'd think it would be quite simple. You can take up to 52 weeks off* (however you want to split it with your partner) and you get paid for X weeks, the value of X depending on how much your company actually believes in all its own rhetoric about promoting gender equality in the workplace.

However, there's a nasty snag in a lot of policies - THE BIRTHDAY PEG.




I will try and explain the Birthday Peg with a simple example:

Woke Ltd tell all their employees that the company has equalised its maternity and SPL policies so now both Mums and Dads are entitled to the first 26 weeks off work at full pay.

HOORAY! Think the Dads at Woke Ltd, I can now split the leave equally with my partner and take six months' paid SPL ... NOT SO.

It is only the first 26 weeks of the SPL period that are paid, and so the second six months are unpaid. This means, that any Dad at Woke Ltd that takes any SPL during months 6-12 of the SPL period will get paid £0 enhanced pay, nada, nil points...

Why do birthday pegs exist?

Birthday Pegging is common as companies are "equalising" their parental leave policies. Equalising essentially means the company copies over the its maternity T&Cs to its SPL policy.

However, Birthday Pegging doesn't matter in maternity policies because the mum ALWAYS begins her leave when the baby is born.

However, there is no need for the Dad to link his leave to his child's birth. For example, perhaps he wants to take two months at when the child is 10 months' old as the child is no longer breast feeding and mum is gradually returning to work. The Birthday Peg would mean taking the time off later would be unpaid SPL.

Why is this bad?

Birthday Pegging is bad as it discourages men from taking SPL.

Men are much more likely to take SPL in the later months because of breast feeding and the mum's recovery after birth. The Birthday Peg means that - in effect - whilst the maternity and SPL policies are equal on paper, it is still only women that can really access the full benefits of parental leave.

This practice allows companies to make a big song and dance about the fact that they have "equal" parenting leave policies - but the reality is that men are much less encouraged financially than women to take advantage of the leave available.

What do do?

If your employer's SPL policy suffers from the Due Date Peg - let them know about it!

Hopefully that made sense??! - if you want further explanation - drop me a line!

I will probably do some more blogs about this issue in future as it is a bit of a hot topic.

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Please note - the above does not relate to Statutory Pay (which, incidentally is also pegged to the birth date)

*this includes 2 weeks' Paternity Leave

** and birth partners

Comments

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