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Policy change needed to help parents 'be the best they can be'

Raft of changes including shared parental leave recommended

Parents on the Isle of Man need to be ‘enabled, empowered and encouraged’ to ‘be the best they can be’ – and policy change is needed to make that happen.

That’s the view of the Population Rebalancing Committee which will ask Tynwald to support 15 recommendations to tackle current imbalance.

It wants government to create a ‘Population Policy’ along with a range of ideas which could help support parenthood on the Isle of Man.

These include an extension of the pre-school credit scheme, a review of maternity allowance – something that hasn’t been done since 2011 - and the introduction of shared parental leave.

The latter is something that new mum Amy says she would have welcomed when her partner was left, like many others, at a disadvantage after the birth of their son:

Chair of the Population Rebalancing Committee, Dr Michelle Haywood, says the Island must move with the times and modernise what it can offer people:

The committee’s report will go to Tynwald in February with the hope that government will demonstrate a commitment to ensuring the Island is a ‘first choice’ for those building a career and raising a family.

Amy says she believes it’s time to do things differently and that change would benefit everyone:

You can find the full report from the Population Rebalancing Committee HERE.

The Chamber of Commerce has since released a statement saying:

Shared parental leave is a crucial step towards gender equality and flexibility in the workplace. It allows both parents to take time off to care for a new child and can lead to a better work-life balance for employees.  Studies have shown that parental leave can lead to increased job satisfaction, lower turnover rates, and improved employee morale. This, in turn, can result in a more productive and engaged workforce.  However, it can present some challenges, such as potential difficulties in coverage for the employee's responsibilities during their absence, and potential additional costs for the employer. Additionally, it can be difficult for small businesses to offer shared parental leave because of the financial burden it may cause.

Offering shared parental leave can also be beneficial for employers in terms of attracting and retaining top talent. It demonstrates a commitment to creating a family-friendly work environment and can be a key factor in attracting a diverse workforce.

 The Isle of Man Economic Strategy, "Our Island, Our People" document emphasizes the importance of attracting and retaining a working age population in order to support economic growth and development.  Shared parental leave can be seen as one policy that can help to support this goal by making it easier for parents, particularly mothers, to balance work and family responsibilities, which can help to attract and retain working-age individuals who may otherwise leave the island due to lack of support for work-life balance.

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