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Allowing working parents to share responsibility for childcare will help create more equal and diverse workforces, says CIPD

As the Government's consultation on the administration of shared parental leave draws to a close, the CIPD has reiterated its support for the proposals but has highlighted some technicalities that will require close attention to ensure the new system is beneficial to employers and employees alike.

Mike Emmott, employee relations adviser at the CIPD, said: "By giving men and women similar entitlements to leave following the birth of a child, mums and dads will have more choice over how they manage and balance their caring responsibilities between them, which will support female participation and progression in the labour market.

"What's more, employers will benefit by increasing their ability to maintain a more diverse workforce and retain the skills and knowledge women bring to the workplace."

However, the CIPD has said shared parental leave does not come without its challenges. "The devil is in the detail," said Emmott. "For example, different notice periods for paternity pay and leave inevitably cause confusion to both employer and employee, and add to the time required to deal with requests. We therefore agree with the proposal to align the notice period for paternity leave and pay at the end of the 15th week before the expected week of child birth."

"The decision to allow parents to notify their employer of their leave intentions as they require them is also likely to cause many employers significant problems in planning recruitment, and reallocating staff, to deal with parents' unanticipated absences from work."

He added: "However, the additional flexibility this will give parents is welcome and the requirement that they should give at least eight weeks' notice for each period of leave is not unreasonable."

The consultation period, which started in February, set out proposals for how shared parental lave and pay will work in practice.