Take up of shared parental leave could be higher than originally thought, with 4 out of 5 of those thinking of having children saying they would consider taking the leave.
A Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) survey was commissioned ahead of April’s introduction of Shared Parental Leave (SPL). Under SPL parents will be able to split 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay between them in their baby’s first year. They will be able to use this flexibly, swapping back and forward up to three times.
BIS said the findings show the attitude that mothers should take on the bulk of childcare is changing. Some 53% of the 2,138 questioned said that childcare should be the equal responsibility of both parents while a further 22% believe that a couple should have the right to choose how they divide caring responsibilities.
Just under a quarter of those surveyed believe that childcare should be the mother’s main responsibility, with more than half of men thinking that childcare should be shared equally, compared to 50% of women.
Two-thirds of the parents polled said that they would have considered sharing parental leave if it had been available. This was higher amongst fathers, of whom three-quarters said they would have considered it, compared with 63% of women.
For those considering having children in the future, 4 in 5 said they would consider taking SPL. This is significantly higher than previous government estimates have suggested.
Employment relations minister Jo Swinson said employers will benefit through greater staff retention and loyalty. “This survey shows people are rejecting dated stereotypes about the roles of men and women. Parenting is a shared endeavour and couples want more flexibility when they are adapting to the demands of a new baby.”
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