The Bar Standards Board (BSB) published a consultation on giving self-employed barristers similar rights to shared parental leave as employed barristers.

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).

But there is no requirement for chambers to make shared parental leave arrangements for self-employed barristers.

The BSB believes that introducing shared parental leave could enable the self-employed Bar to retain female barristers and improve diversity within the profession. It anticipates that there will a significant appetite within the profession for such a rule change.

The paper, Shared Parental Leave, seeks views on the potential benefits for individual barristers and 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.’

The deadline for responses is 5pm on 17 February 2017.