65% are unaware of shared parental leave

Around two-thirds (65%) of respondents are unaware of the shared parental leave legislation, which comes in to effect from April 2015, according to research by care industry website Good Care Guide.


The Good Care Guide Parenting survey, which surveyed 1,000 working parents, found that, among those who do know about the legislation, many are confused about its implications.

Nearly half (43%) of respondents were under the misconception that parents will have equal rights, when, in reality, it will be up to the mother, or primary adopter, to sign off.

More than a third (41%) were correct in thinking that shared parental leave means that parents will be able to split parental leave equally between them, while one in ten thought that parents will be able to access the same levels of parental leave pay, when, in reality, it will depend on what each employer offers. 

The research also found that 84% of respondents said the new legislation would not make any difference to how they take leave after their baby is, or was, born.

Despite this, 65% of respondents would jump at the chance to have two to five years off work in order to raise their family if it was an option offered by employers.

My Family Care and law firm Hogan Lovells have created a downloadable HR resources pack, which provides information and advice for HR departments with details about what the legislative changes mean to them.

The guide includes:  

  • Advice on how organisations can get to grips with shared parental leave (SPL).
  • Bringing SPL to life – a case study with model answers.
  • Thoughts from industry experts on the implications of SPL for business and gender equality.
  • Access to HR and diversity webinars.

Jennifer Liston-Smith (pictured), director of coaching and consultancy at My Family Care, said: “Our research shows that the majority of parents are very unsure about the shared parental leave changes, with a large chunk of people not even knowing about them altogether.  

“This highlights a need to educate parents-to-be about their options, choices that they have never had to quite to this degree in the past, enabling women to spend more time at work while their partner takes on the childcare role.

“Despite these understandable concerns, we have found that the majority of employers we are working with have welcomed the idea of shared parental leave to support their staff and family-friendly policies, and also as providing more talent retention choices for women who are significant or main bread-winners within families.  

“However, it’s important that everyone understands the implications of the new legislation for families and businesses, and our research shows there is a clear need for more education by the government.

“There are solid plans in place to inform employers, but it seems the public wants to know more too; and sooner rather than later.”