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Ruth Hunt: Good employers value difference

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Ruth Hunt, CEO of Stonewall, talks about shared parental leave and what it will mean for same-sex couples starting a family.


Ruth Hunt

Ruth Hunt is Chief Executive of Stonewall, the largest lesbian, gay and bisexual equality charity in the UK. She was formerly President of the Oxford University Student Union, and became the first British Fellow of the Marshall Memorial Fellowship in 2011, in recognition of her ability to campaign for social change.

Ruth Hunt

At Stonewall we know that the best employers value difference. They really get that creating a workforce where everyone can be themselves, isn't just good for employees, it's good for business. 

That's why we're delighted that from April 2015 parents will be able to split parental leave in a way that makes sense for them. It's a great step forward because it recognises that not all families are the same and there's no one template for family life.

Same-sex couples know this more than most. Many will have had the experience of coming out to their friends and colleagues and helping them to understand that family is family - no matter if it looks a little different to what some people might expect. 

And even more than that, it's often same-sex couples who find themselves lacking support and guidance when it comes to starting a family. In 2013 we worked with YouGov to survey over 2,000 lesbian, gay and bisexual people. We discovered that, staggeringly, more than half found a lack of advice and information a real barrier to becoming a parent.

So what does this mean for employers? It means you've got a great opportunity to help all of your employees - including those in same-sex relationships - understand that you'll be there to support them through the exciting process of beginning a family.  

The new law is fantastic, but it's you who have the power to translate it into real tangible change for employees by making sure there's guidance to help them understand exactly what they're entitled to. 

And if your lesbian, gay and bi employees have some questions about how they can start a family? Well we'll be here to guide them every step of the way.

Employers and couples can find guidance on same-sex parenting at Couples can also get access to advice and support by calling Stonewall on 08000 50 20 20 or emailing

Shared parental leave information from Acas

Shared parental leave and pay

pdf icon Shared Parental Leave: a good practice guide for employers and employees [538kb]

Read other blogs on shared parental leave

Verity O'Keefe: Shared parental leave - tackling the challenges and understanding the business benefits

Jo Swinson: Shared Parental Leave will help build a modern fairer workplace

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