More2Gain Insights: More than half of fathers would use Shared Parental Leave, according to a new survey from work life balance charity Working Families, carried out to mark the second anniversary of the scheme in the UK.

Half of fathers would use Shared Parental Leave

More than half of fathers would use Shared Parental Leave, according to a new survey from work life balance charity Working Families, carried out to mark the second anniversary of the scheme in the UK.

Over 300 fathers took part in the survey and it found:

  • 52% said they would make use of the scheme. The main reasons they gave were to spend time bonding with their new child, and because they and their partner want to share care.
  • Of those fathers who said they wouldn’t use the scheme, more than a third said this was because they couldn’t afford to.
  • A quarter of fathers didn’t know about SPL.

Yes 25% that’s a huge proportion. We all need to do more to talk about shared leave and make it more normal rather than unusual.

To help increase awareness of SPL, Working Families has worked with Alliance Manchester Business School, Lancaster University School of Management and the Fatherhood Institute to create a new video case book showing the first-hand experiences of parents who have used the scheme

Sarah Jackson OBE, Chief Executive of Working Families, said:

“It’s obvious many fathers want to spend time bonding with their child in the early days and to share care with their partner. The fact that more than half of fathers want to make use of SPL shows how far we have come on the journey towards shared care and shared careers. Good news for families but also good news for the economy.

“But families are unlikely to make use of SPL unless it makes financial sense for them to do so. The government should consider equalising statutory maternity pay and shared parental pay – to prevent SPL being a second-class option and encourage more fathers to use it.”

The DaddiLife Community, which supported the survey, said:

“From the hundreds of fathers we spoke to across the DaddiLife Community, we found that more and more dads want to take extended parental leave beyond what is currently statutory, but don’t feel that it is readily available. They want to embrace more parental responsibility than ever, and time with their young families is now just as important as time at work.

“However, what is clear from these results is that British fathers don’t yet have enough awareness and access to SPL. At a time where our economy needs to foster as much productivity as possible, it’s imperative that the government and employers are creating the right conditions to ensure that dads in the workplace are supported.”

Many employers don’t have the resources to be able to provide dedicated information to their employees. And so working parents can find it difficult to work out the options available to them.

The new video case book developed by Working Families shows first-hand experiences of parents who have used #SharedParentalLeave

The films let parents and employers hear the honest, lived experiences – both positive and negative – of those who have used SPL. They’re freely available to everyone – spread the word.