63% of fathers interested in taking shared parental leave


Almost a third (63%) of male employee respondents with young children are interested in taking shared parental leave (SPL) in the future, according to research by My Family Care and the Women’s Business Council.

The Shared parental leave: where are we now? report, which surveyed 200 employers and 1,000 working parents, also found that 40% of employee respondents feel that shared parental leave is encouraged by their employer.

The research also found:

  • 87% of male employee respondents would like to take longer leave in order to be more involved in parenting their child.
  • Half (50%) of male employee respondents believe that opting to take shared parental leave would be perceived negatively in the workplace.
  • 57% of female employee respondents think that their partner’s career would be negatively affected if they took SPL.
  • More than half (55%) of female employee respondents would prefer to take the full period of leave themselves, while 60% of male respondents believe that their partner would prefer to take the full leave themselves.
  • 44% of female respondents want to take a shorter period of leave for career purposes.
  • 77% of employer respondents have enhanced maternity pay.
  • Almost two-thirds (65%) of employer respondents have enhanced paternity pay.

Emer Timmons (pictured), chair of the Men as Change Agents working group at the Women’s Business Council, said: “The findings from My Family Care highlights the important role that business can play in raising awareness of the opportunity to take SPL.

“One year on, we can see that some fathers have embraced the opportunity to spend time with their young families but that there is still a long way to go for others.”

Ben Black, founder of My Family Care, added: “The key thing for businesses is to help their employees combine work and family, by providing them with choices and enabling them to carry on with their careers while having a family.

“More and more we’re going to hear fantastic stories of fathers, at senior levels, who have taken shared parental leave, and once these stories filter through, and the notion of sharing leave in this way becomes ‘normal’, then it will be accepted practice and that 1% will gradually increase.

“Of course, all change takes time and while it hasn’t so far been the cultural change that many were clamouring for, I suspect with many [organisations] enhancing paternity leave, momentum will grow.”