26 September 2018

BSB seeks views on shared parental leave for self-employed barristers

22 November 2016

"Should self-employed barristers enjoy similar rights to shared parental leave as employed barristers?" the Bar Standards Board (BSB) asks in a consultation launched today.

Since April 2015, many employees and their partners have been able to share parental leave between both parents in the first year of a child's life (or within one year of their adoption).

Currently, there is no requirement for chambers to make shared parental leave arrangements for self-employed barristers. Shared parental leave could enable the self-employed Bar to retain female barristers and improve diversity within the profession.

The BSB has considered the regulatory issues and believes there would be value in making the parental leave rules more flexible. There is expected to be a significant appetite within the profession for a rule change of this nature, as the BSB has examined this issue at the request of the Bar Council, the profession's representative body.

In the consultation paper, the BSB asks respondents to consider:

  • an amendment to the rules in the BSB Handbook to incorporate shared parental leave;
  • the potential benefits of the proposed change for individual barristers and for the Bar as a whole; and
  • the potential challenges of implementing this rule change.

Barrister and BSB Board Member, Anupama Thompson said: "We are committed to promoting a diverse profession by ensuring the wellbeing and work-life balance of barristers. Sharing parental leave between parents could go some way to addressing this issue. It may improve the working culture of the Bar and promote greater equality between the genders in career progression. We want to foster a culture of retaining women at the Bar, and a change to the rules on shared parental leave could help."

Read the Shared Parental Leave consultation here.

The deadline for responses is 5pm, Friday, 17 February 2017.

ENDS

Notes to editors

About the Bar Standards Board

Our mission is to regulate barristers and their professional practice and specialised legal services businesses in England and Wales in the public interest. For more information about what we do visit: http://bit.ly/1gwui8t

Contact: For all media enquiries call: 0207 611 1452 or email press@barstandardsboard.org.uk .