The Department for Enterprise is seeking views on the introduction of a number of family leave rights.

Whilst the Isle of Man has a number of statutory employment rights relating to time off work and family leave, such as maternity, paternity and adoption leave, there are a number of family-related leave rights that the island does not have.

For instance, currently, in terms of maternity and paternity leave, a mother may take up to 52 weeks of leave, while a father may only take 2 weeks of leave.

The consultation states that ‘this limits the flexibility of parents to care for their new children’.

It is proposed that the Employment Act 2006 is amended to include provision for shared parental leave.

In the UK, shared parental leave was introduced in 2014.

The system allows couples who have had a baby, used a surrogate to have a baby, or adopted a baby, to share up to 50 weeks leave.

Mothers and fathers can share the leave in the first year after the child is born or placed with the family.

In order to take shared parental leave the parents must take less than the 52 weeks of maternity or adoption leave and use the rest as shared parental leave.

For example, if a mother has taken 22 weeks of Maternity Leave they will still be able to share 30 weeks of shared parental leave with their partner.

Shared parental leave may be taken in blocks separated by periods of work, or taken all in one go.

Parents can also choose to be off work together or alternate the periods of leave taken by each parent.

It should be noted that in the UK it is estimated that only between 2% to 8% of eligible couples have opted to use shared parental leave.

However without introduction of the powers then there is no opportunity for parents in the Isle of Man to opt to do so.

Rights to time off work and family leave from work, such as maternity and paternity leave, are set out in the Employment Act 2006.

But it is proposed that an Employments Rights Bill be introduced to amend the Employment Act 2006 to enable a number of new rights for time off work and family leave.

The specific changes are:

l Extension of rights to time off for ante natal care

l Introduction of time off for adoption appointments; and

l Time off for dependants.

l The introduction of powers to make secondary legislation for shared parental leave;

l The introduction of powers to make secondary legislation for parental bereavement leave;

l Provision for ‘keeping in touch’ days for maternity/paternity etc leave.

Douglas South MHK Sarah Maltby has been particularly vocal in her support of the proposed changes.

In a post on Facebook, she said: ‘I get asked why do we still not have shared parental leave on the Isle of Man probably once every couple of weeks.

‘As a parent to two young children I know the struggle and it has angered me for many years too.

‘So I am very pleased to share that you (and me!) can now be a part of changing legislation to bring about big changes.

‘This questionnaire led by the Department for Enterprise will take hardly any time, but the outcomes could make a big change to young families now and future families that we really need to retain and attract to our island.

‘Please have a go at completing it, thank you in advance.’

The consultation is open until August 26.

The proposed changes, and the consultation itself, can be accessed at