According to recent research by the Women’s Business Council and the employer support firm My Family Care, fathers are not taking advantage of rules that allow them to share leave with their partners. The research found just 1% of all male employees had taken shared parental leavesince it was launched, and fewer than 10% of respondents reported more than 1% takeup.
55% of mothers questioned said they did not want to share their leave, and 80% of employees as a whole said a decision to share leave would depend on finances and whether their employer paid more than the legal minimum. The research also found that concerns over career progression were a factor, with half of men saying they thought taking leave was perceived negatively at work. Although almost half of businesses said they offered enhanced pay in line with what they offered employees taking maternity leave, only 40% of employees said shared parental leave was encouraged by their employer.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: “Shared parental leave is provided to help mothers who want to return to work early share responsibility for the care of her child with the father or partner. Takeup is likely to be higher in organisations that offer pay above the statutory minimum. We will evaluate the policy by 2018”. A member of the OW team will be happy to assist with any queries regarding shared leave.