Case study: Scottish Parliament.

In this, the Year of the Dad, the Scottish Parliament has demonstrated a clear commitment to embracing change in parenting believing society can make parenting an equal partnership if employers contribute to how they promote policies on maternity, paternity and adoption, and ensure these are truly inclusive of men and women.

The parliament recognise the importance of fathers at all stages - from before the arrival of a new baby, when they return to work following parental leave, and as they go through each life stage.

The Scottish Parliament’s shared parental leave policy mirrors its maternity provision, offering up to six months leave on full pay. Fathers are entitled to attend antenatal appointments, they can use the in-house crèche and parenting room and make use of childcare vouchers. In addition, they are supported to have a phased return to work to help them settle back in gradually after the birth of a child.

The parliament was proud to be one of the first organisations in Scotland to embrace a pioneering maternity mentoring scheme, open to men who wish to take extended leave. This been re-launched as a parenting network and as part of Year of the Dad employment workshops will be held for new fathers.

The Scottish Parliament supports employees adopt flexible working patterns, such as compressed hours and home working. In addition, employees can take 18 weeks’ unpaid carers leave.

The organisation has many senior role models including the Chief Executive, a father who works flexibly to integrate family commitments.

Crucially, it was the motivation of a working father that sparked the creation of a virtual, part-time network, owned by staff and supported by HR, giving fathers like him the chance to sway polices that may affect him and other parents.

The organisation’s approach has also had an impact on shared caring responsibilities, with women returning to work and adopting different working patterns.

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