An agreement enabling junior doctors who take shared parental leave to access enhanced pay rates has been heralded by the BMA as “a real advance in workplace equality”.
Since 1 April 2019, shared parental pay in England has been enhanced to the same levels as occupational maternity and adoption pay. Additionally, junior doctors with rotational training contracts are now eligible for the equivalent to statutory pay for maternity, adoption and shared parental leave.
There is a new requirement for staff to receive a day or half day of paid leave in lieu if they work a KiT (keeping in touch) or SPLiT (shared parental leave in touch) day on a paid or half paid day of their leave period.
Importantly, the enhanced shared parental pay can be applied retrospectively.
Under the new arrangements, breaks in service while on approved out-of-programme (OOP), on an honorary contract or in a placement with a non-NHS employer in a crown dependency, will not affect eligibility for maternity, adoption and shared parental leave.
The new system will simplify the application process. There will be no requirement to provide additional evidence to access the occupational pay rights. Staff just need to provide the statutory notifications and NHS employers have agreed to use the standard forms.
The deal follows lobbying from the BMA junior doctors committee against the existing system where doctors applying for shared parental leave could only receive basic statutory pay in the first six months.
BMA junior doctors committee chair Jeeves Wijesuriya said the changes are “a simple yet important step towards addressing the gender pay gap within medicine”.
He said: “The introduction of fair shared parental leave brings flexibility for parents and is a real advance in increasing fairness and equality within the workplace.”