30 June 2023

Along side the Parental leave and pay government consultation response, the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) has also provided us with an evaluation of Shared Parental Leave (SPL).

This evaluation looks into if SPL has achieved its original goals of:

  • giving parents more flexibility in how they care for their child in the first year
  • encouraging more fathers to play a greater caring role
  • increasing flexibility for employees and employers to agree how best to balance work and childcare needs.

The report contains a lot of useful info, but here are some highlights from the employment side of things that you may find interesting:

  • over seven out of ten employers were aware of SPL policy
  • an average of 16 weeks SPL is taken by parents
    • women took more at 19 weeks
    • men less at 14 weeks
  • where men took SPL, 84% of workplaces said the leave was always paid
    • however, in almost half of these workplaces it was unclear how long this would be paid for
  • some qualitative feedback cited difficulties finding cover, which could present barriers
  • fathers are more likely to report changing working hours or arrangements after taking SPL
  • parents who took SPL are more likely to work for companies that offer family-friendly support, such as flexible working
  • family friendly policies increase satisfaction with work-life balance and commitment to employers, which may lead to increased productivity
  • a 2019 survey showed that 72% of parents who took SPL return to the job they had before the birth of their child.

This is all in addition to the positive societal impacts cited in the report that improve the personal lives of the families involved. But it seems clear that there are some benefits to businesses that shouldn’t be ignored. In the conclusion, the report states that employers are broadly satisfied with the policy. However, the results show that additional awareness is needed and clear guidance for employers.

Information provided in this news article may be subject to change. Please make note of the date of publication to ensure that you are viewing up to date information.