We all have experienced the reality that the boundaries between work and home are increasingly becoming eroded. Not only is technology making it easier to work from home or in the evening, but so many of us have been compelled to do so this year by default. Balancing the demands of being a parent and supporting employees in this position has been one of the main challenges this year for business in the Channel Islands.
Speaking from personal experience I know that the hardest time to balance home and work life is with a new born. As the non-birth parent you are there as a critical release for your partner, a spare pair of hands, and helping to deal with the self-induced torture that is sleep deprivation, whilst trying not to simply just get in the way. During those early weeks it can be a challenge to do this and continue to work effectively. Employers don't really benefit from this work output either, with reduced productivity and quality.
It is interesting to see that in France they are proposing to increase parental leave to one month and making at least one week of this mandatory. Presumably this is to encourage more partners to take up the leave and to force businesses to allow it to happen.
We are fortunate here in Jersey. Earlier this year parental leave was increased to six weeks paid (and up to a further 46 weeks unpaid), and these can be taken in up to three blocks over two years. It is not mandatory though, and it will be interesting to see how many employees take up their full leave provision over the coming year.
What are your thoughts on mandatory leave for the non-birth parent?
“Time is an essential factor in establishing an important link between the child and the parents. The current 14-day period is too short.”