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Mum still left holding the baby despite the introduction of shared parental leave.

Published 19 April 2016

image via HuffingtonPost

The introduction of shared parental leave has got off to a slow start. Just one in 100 dads are using new laws to take more time off to look after their newborns, a study has revealed.

The policy was introduced just over a year ago and it means employees may be able to get shared parental leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay if they have had a baby or adopted a child.

Employees can start SPL if they are eligible and they or their partner end their maternity or adoption leave or pay early.

The guidelines were introduced to enable dads to play a bigger role in bringing up the children, and to help mums get back to work earlier.

The study conducted by the advice firm My Family Care and Women’s Business Council found that 55 per cent of the women quizzed said they did not want to share the 52 weeks of maternity leave they are entitled to.

However, the research revealed just one per cent of dads have used it and 63 per cent said they would do so in future.

It is thought the slow take up may be due to the fact that many dads still feel they have a duty to be the main breadwinner in the household, despite having the option to stay at home with their baby.

It is still early days for the family- friendly policy and it is expected that the more news starts to spread; the number of dads opting to take SPL will increase.

Employers are encouraged to have early conversations with employees regarding leave intentions in order so that both can be clear regarding entitlement, what leave arrangements are being considered and how they will be accommodated.

Acas has drawn up a four-step guide for employers.

Step 1: Becoming aware of pregnancy or match. Discussing intentions and other leave options

Step 2: Choosing SPL and notification entitlement. Discussing early intentions, making early preparations and plans.

Step 3: Notification of a leave booking. Considering the impact of a leave booking, discussing leave booking.

Step 4: Outcome. Confirm and communicate outcome.

Note:

My Family Care and Women’s Business Council study can be found at

https://www.myfamilycare.co.uk/news/update/shared-parental-leave-where-are-we-now.html

Acas Shared Parental Leave: a good practice guide for employers and employees: http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/h/d/Shared-Parental-Leave-a-good-practice-guide-for-employers-and-employees.pdf

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