Shared Parental Leave; what the employees say

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Shared parental leave is a subject I’ve written about many times in the past. Although the rules that were eventually introduced to update maternity and paternity leave fell short of what many hoped, it’s introduction was necessary. It was a big step in the right direction for creating better equality in the workplace and home.

To use a cliché, Rome was not built in a day. The foundations are in place and the Government has committed to reviewing the shared parental leaves rules in 2018. The results of a new survey from online recruitment specialist TotalJobs provides further evidence the policy isn’t quite working as expected. Many had high-hopes this new system of leave would result in more men taking leave following the birth of a child. For a variety of reasons, this hasn’t really come to pass.

Although based on a small sample of 698 men and women, a consistent theme runs through the findings. The survey found that;

  • Only 33% of women and 41% of men know about shared parental leave
  • 65% of respondents had no idea if their employer offered enhanced shared parental leave pay and
  • a staggering 74% had received no information from their HR team about shared parental leave.

This suggests there is still a lot of work to be done educating employees about the policy. It also seems like employers are possibly not doing as much as they could to inform staff about their organisation’s policies.

The main findings of the survey are outlined in the infographic below. Please do have a read. What do you think are the reasons mums and dads are not exercising their right to shared parental leave? Would you take it? Has you r employer told you about its policies? Please leave a comment below detailing your experience.


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And then the fun began...

10 thoughts on “Shared Parental Leave; what the employees say”

  1. Interesting statistics, John. I live in the States, where parental leave is VERY different. In fact, we quite envy European countries and their policies because parents here barely get any. My husband did not got any when my daughter was born (he had to use his vacation days–only a week) and I got 6 weeks paid leave, but was lucky enough to get more with my banked vacation days and personal days from my employer.

    So, reading this was enlightening. I definitely agree that putting more emphasis in child care is a big deal, but what I liked more is the idea that this legislation gets the father more involved in raising their kid. Paternity leave is something that should be just as much at the forefront of the discussion as maternity leave. And proposing this shared notion is a step towards that. Thank you for such an informational piece, John! Hopefully the review in policy will provoke changes for the better for both mothers and fathers in the UK

    1. Fascinating thing is, if you cross the border into Canada, they’ve had shared parental leave than longer than the UK. I’m glad you liked the post. Shared parental leave is a massive step in the correct direction for families. We need to get it working properly though.

    1. Of it so is a thing. Both paretns are responsible for the leave. Have tweeted you a link to further info.

  2. The first thing I did when I read this was check to see who commissioned the infographic. I didn’t think it would have been the government! I don’t really know what my employer tells people nowadays as it’s been over three and a half years since I was expecting a baby, but let’s just say I haven’t noticed any special sections being highlighted on our intranet or global newsletters. I guess for most couples the choice is likely to boil down to who is earning the highest salary and also who has the most rewarding career and often-times because of the historical status quo that is going to be the man. Maybe once more and more people start taking this shared leave up and more and more stay at home dads there are then workplace equality will actually start to be the norm because employers won’t be able to continue judging a woman by how likely she is to go off and get knocked up and become a less valuable employee as a part timer. Thanks for linking with #thetruthabout John

    1. Yeah, I thought that was one of the most valuable, if unplanned aspects of shared parental leave; an employer can’t use the sexist approach and treat women of child bearing age differently. Sadly, it’s not quite working like that at the moment. Here’s hoping for change.

  3. I have to admit I didn’t know about this – but then my youngest child has just turned three so perhaps that’s not surprising. I think it’s a great idea though – hopefully it can play a part in gaining gender equality in the workplace in the future. #thetruthabout

    1. Yes indeed, I think that’s what we’re all hoping for; great equality in the workplace AND the home. It’ll take time, but I hope we get there.

  4. So glad to have found you through the #MMWBH (#MadMidWeekBlogHop). You have some terrific blog posts and, as a former stay-at-home Dad, I can relate to so much of what you share. While I’m back to working full-time outside the home, my wife and I and our boys will always cherish the couple of years I spent with them when they were little (2 and 1). I strongly believe the time shared with them doing everyday tasks (changing diapers, bathing, feeding, etc.) has contributed to our relationships now that they’re teens.

    My wife and I live in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and had our two sons before shared parental leave came into being. Nevertheless, my wife enjoyed a lengthy and generously paid maternity leave through our provincial and national governments and her employer, receiving a good portion of her regular salary for nearly a year.

    We are firm believers in the benefits of shared parental leave, for the child, each parent and the couple as a whole. The bonding over shared joys and challenges strengthens the couple’s relationship at a time when there are major changes to routine and helps strengthen their marriage. And happy, connected parents convey love and security to their baby, indirectly strengthening the child’s immunity and health. It’s a win-win for everyone.

    1. Thanks Reuven for your very encouraging words. Glad to know you like my work and always good to hear from stay at home dads, former or otherwise. You are quite right, shared parental leave is a win/win for everyone. The UK is only just beginning to realise this. We’re behing the curve, but well ahead of many of our European partners.

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