Positive start for shared parental leave

13 January 2016

A report from Working Families shows that despite concerns that shared parental leave would mean disrupted working patterns; four out of five employees are taking leave in a single, continuous block.

Employers do continue though, to have concerns about the complexity of shared parental leave and about the cultural acceptability of fathers taking leave.

The report, Shared parental leave: the perspective from employers, shows that take-up is at an early stage (0.5-2% of eligible fathers) but seven out of ten employers (71%) expect take-up to increase in the future. Two thirds of employers (67%) are planning to review their shared parental leave policy in the next year as the new provisions become more established.

The research also found that more than two thirds of employers are supportive of shared parental leave (67%) and a third of employers (32%) are matching shared parental leave pay to existing enhanced maternity pay.

Sarah Jackson, Chief Executive of Working Families, said:

“We’re further than we should be from equality between men and women at work but this could be the beginnings of the culture change we need to empower and enable families to share care.

These results show that employers are committed to playing their part to make shared parental leave a real option for new families – the scheme would help even more families if fathers could take this leave from their first day in a new job, just like mothers can.

Employers told us that some new mothers aren’t sure about ‘giving up’ some of their maternity leave: which is why we need a proper period of paid time off especially for fathers.”