Sil­ver lin­ing Is 56 too late to start sav­ing for a pen­sion?

Money Makeover

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - FRONT PAGE -

Page 3 Euro­pean coun­tries, such as Slove­nia and Swe­den, in­tro­duced sim­i­lar poli­cies four decades ago and now have some of the small­est gen­der pay gaps in the world.

Tom McLaugh­lin, an em­ploy­ment lawyer at law firm BDBF, said: “If you take six months off work there are ob­vi­ous is­sues in need­ing to hand over client re­la­tion­ships to oth­ers and then pick up your work again down the line.

“My wife and I did shared parental leave, we’re both lawyers and it al­lowed her to stay in touch bet­ter and come back to work sooner.”

The other ob­vi­ous ben­e­fit is that fa­thers can be more in­volved in their child’s up­bring­ing.

Francesca Clark, 35, and her hus­band Sa­muel Hutchin­son, 39, split eight months of leave be­tween them af­ter their son, Max, was born in 2016. Ms Clark, who is ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of HighTide, a small the­atre com­pany, was able to re­turn to work for a ma­jor event the com­pany holds every year, but Mr Hutchin­son was also able to gain valu­able time with his son.

“It was a re­ally pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence for us. Our em­ploy­ers were re­ally com­mit­ted to mak­ing it hap­pen,” she said. “I wanted Sa­muel to un­der­stand what it was like to be at home with a small child and I think we are both bet­ter par­ents as a re­sult.”

Sor­rel Ash­ton, 29, and her hus­band Dave, 32, also took ad­van­tage of shared leave when their son, Cooper, was born a year ago.

Mr Ash­ton said: “Be­ing at home for three months was bril­liant. Sor­rel and Cooper had built a very strong bond and I was a bit of a third wheel. I was able to get more in­volved.”

Why is the pol­icy fail­ing?

Es­ti­mates sug­gest a frac­tion of el­i­gi­ble par­ents have ap­plied while some stud­ies sug­gest more than 60pc of Bri­tish com­pa­nies have never had a re­quest for shared parental leave. Nat Whalley, of Or­gan­ise, the work­place cam­paign­ing site, said: “Shared parental leave is a great pol­icy. But at the mo­ment it’s a missed op­por­tu­nity for millions of

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