Salaried GPs in England can now access enhanced shared parental leave above statutory pay, the BMA has announced.
Since 2015, parents who meet certain eligibility criteria can share maternity leave by converting it to shared parental leave.
However, it was ‘financially beneficial’ for mothers to take their full maternity leave paid at an enhanced rate ‘in most cases’ rather than sharing parental leave at statutory rates, the BMA said.
But now a new ‘enhanced shared parental leave system’ for salaried GPs has been launched in England that allows for up to 50 out of 52 weeks of maternity leave to be shared between parents, according to the latest GP Committee bulletin.
The system, which will be offered at GMS and some PMS practices, also allows eligible parents to share up to 37 weeks of statutory shared parental pay equivalent to statutory maternity pay, it added.
Salaried GPs can now request for the new form of leave to be ‘included in their contracts’, which brings them in line with entitlements for junior doctors and Agenda for Change staff, the GPC said.
The move to a ‘more flexible form of leave supports the BMA’s commitment to addressing the gender pay gap’, it added.
A BMA article published last week said: ‘Until now, for most salaried GPs it was financially beneficial for mothers to take their full maternity leave and pay, as in most cases this was paid at an enhanced rate (ie more than statutory pay) by their employers, whereas shared parental leave was paid at statutory rates.
‘The BMA sessional GPs committee has been lobbying for the past few years for salaried GPs to be offered enhanced pay for shared parental leave. We now have confirmation that this can be offered by employers (GMS and certain PMS practices)’.
The move makes it ‘fairer for parents to genuinely take’ the option of shared parental leave, it added.
BMA guidance updated last week said enhanced shared parental leave pay entitlement for those who are eligible for statutory shared parental leave includes six weeks’ full pay including statutory pay, 18 weeks’ half pay plus statutory pay, 13 weeks at statutory pay and 13 weeks unpaid.
The GPC will also issue guidance for practices about what the changes will mean for them as employers, the BMA said.