Less than ten per cent of workers use shared parental leave

Wiseman Admin2020, Employment LawLeave a Comment

According to the latest industry research, less than one in 10 employees currently use shared parental leave.

The YouGov poll of 1,000 UK employees found that only seven per cent of respondents with children had taken shared parental leave in the past.

However, this figure could be set to increase in future with 38 per cent of those planning to have children in future claiming they will use the method with their next child.

This comes as attitudes towards caring responsibilities begin to shift and an increased number of employers have started to enhance the pay structure for parents taking up the entitlement.

SPL was introduced by the Government in 2015 to allow parents to share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of statutory pay between them after the birth of a child.

Leave is taken during the first year after the child is born and can be taken in blocks or all in one go, with parents also having the choice of being off together or staggering the leave and pay.

It was designed to allow couples to split child-caring roles more equally.

However, since its introduction, the uptake has been considered poor and prompted the Government to consider various alternatives including offering fathers 12 weeks’ paid paternity leave.

Dr Jana Javornik of Leeds Business School said: “With the increasing number of role models and media attention it is likely that more and more couples will share leave but only as long as the financial component allows equality and employers support an uptake.

“Otherwise, fathers will continue to hide behind paid annual and sick leave instead. Employers will, however, need to make sure that, instead, they do not reduce extra-statutory rights for mothers, especially maternity pay, which we’ve seen happening.”

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