Salaried GPs in Scotland will be able to share share parental leave equally with their partners without financial detriment, following BMA lobbying.
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 when similar arrangements came into force in England.
The Scottish Government and BMA Scotland came to an agreement after ‘months of campaigning and working behind the scenes’.
BMA Scotland said: ‘This is a big win for salaried GPs in Scotland, and a valuable opportunity to promote the uptake of [enhanced shared parental leave] in England, where it remains low.
‘ESPL provides greater flexibility to salaried GPs who are growing their families and will help to reduce the systemic bias in favour of parental leave being taken solely as maternity leave.’
The salaried GP handbook has now been updated to say: ‘ESPL pay entitlement for those would meet the eligibility criteria for statutory SPL, is as follows: – 6 weeks’ full pay including statutory paya18 weeks’ half pay plus statutory pay – 13 weeks at statutory pay, and – 13 weeks that are unpaid.’
The guidance also said that the Scottish Government has ‘confirmed to BMA Scotland that GP practices will be able to claim back locum cover costs for enhanced shared parental leave, as for maternity cover, as set out in the Statement of Financial Entitlements’.