The Bar Council has today published its new guide on shared parental leave, which, it is hoped, will help to place barrister parents on a more equal footing and encourage the fair division of caring responsibilities – which, the guide notes, still fall disproportionately on women.
The document comes after over a year of lobbying from the Bar Council, resulting in the Bar Standards Board announcing the long-awaited rule change in November 2017. The barristers’ regulator now requires all chambers to have a policy that allows any member who becomes the carer of a child to take parental leave. Though the precise details of such policies are for individual chambers to decide, the new rule requires flexible working arrangements to be available to members during their parental leave. Chambers’ policies must reflect the rule change by November 2018.
The Bar Council’s shared parental leave guide can be found on the Ethics & Practice Hub here: http://www.barcouncilethics.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Bar-Council_Parental-Leave-Guide-28revised-including-Shared-Parental-Leave29_February-2018.pdf
The guide explains what a model Parental Leave Policy (PLP) should look like, the key issues it should cover, the rationale for positively engaging with Shared Parental Leave and outlines strategies to avoid misuse.
To support chambers in amending existing policies and checking they are compliant, the Bar Council will also be running an Equality & Diversity Officers (EDO) Network troubleshooting session next month – details of which are on the Bar Council website here.