• Up-take of Shared Parental Leave remains low

        • New figures from Workingmums.co.uk's annual survey, show that 37 per cent would consider taking Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and some 43 per cent of those who wouldn't take it said it would not make sense financially.

          The survey of over 2,300 working mums also shows that 83 per cent of women say they would take more leave than their partner if they took SPL. Only 15 per cent said they would share it evenly.

          Another issue that emerged from the survey was that many expectant couples had not even discussed it. More than twice as many couples had not discussed it as had discussed it.

          Other reasons given for not sharing leave were:

          - mums didn't want to share their leave [17%]

          - worries the dad's career would suffer [12%]

          - didn't know enough about it [11%]

          - the legislation is too complicated [5%].

          The figures come as Workingmums.co.uk and DaddiLife launch a set of videos of couples in conversation about SPL. The videos capture the kind of issues that couples who have opted for the leave, and those who haven't, have wrestled with and give a flavour of some of the unspoken issues at play.

          The Workingmums.co.uk/DaddiLife videos show how couples who have opted for SPL have negotiated the complex legislation and the kind of issues they have come up against. They suggest how employers could support employees better. They also show the emotional impact of their decision in terms of stronger family relations and how they have negotiated the pitfalls, such as concerns about any possible impact on the dad's career and guilt about taking several months off work.

          Gillian Nissim, Founder of Workingmums.co.uk said, "it is disappointing to see how low the take-up of Shared Parental Leave has been. Part of the problem is no doubt the complexity of the legislation and lack of awareness. Finances clearly play a big role and generally there are concerns about the way the legislation is framed. At the moment, this is what we have to work with though and at the heart of the legislation is open, honest conversations between parents about what is best for every member of the family and what impact any decisions they take in the first months of their baby's life might have in the future. We hope these videos will help to promote those conversations."

          Han-Son Lee, Founder of DaddiLife added, "though Shared Parental Leave has been a much welcomed policy that gives fathers and mothers the chance to have more balanced time with their newborns, it's clear from the latest research that there are still many barriers to overcome for more take up. Finances will always be a challenge for many, but what's more striking from these latest figures is the lack of real conversation that's happening around it. Though the policy won't always be right for everyone, what's been truly encouraging from our parents’ videos is how different types of discussions have led to more quality time that parents often cry out for more of. Hopefully more can have the type of discussions about SPL that really get each other thinking about it fully.”

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