Just 2% of respondents have experienced significant take up of shared parental leave (SPL), according to research by My Family Care and law firm Hogan Lovells.
Its survey of 70 employers found that more than a third (38%) of respondents have witnessed increased interest and growing momentum around SPL.
The survey also found:
- 60% of respondents have received few to no requests for shared parental leave.
- 41% cite cultural perceptions that a father taking time off work would be frowned upon or career limiting as the biggest obstacle to SPL take up.
- 43% are enhancing shared parental leave in line with the maternity benefits that they already offer to staff, while 12% have no plans to provide enhanced benefits.
- A third (33%) are considering implementing enhanced shared parental leave once they have a better understanding of the business impact of doing so.
- Less than a quarter (21%) of respondents will welcome and actively encourage staff to use the government’s plans to extend shared parental leave to grandparents, while 12% consider it to be a step too far. More than two-thirds (67%) of respondents remain undecided about the policy.
Jo Broadbent (pictured), counsel at Hogan Lovells, said: “The introduction of SPL was one of the most ground-breaking changes in employee legislation of the last ten years. While take up has been relatively slow, the key thing is that individuals now have a choice; where new parents can discuss among themselves just how they would like to share parenting responsibilities and plan accordingly.
“Once the stigma surrounding fathers taking time off has been removed and word of the success of SPL has spread, we anticipate employers having a lot more interest from their staff.”
Ben Black, director at My Family Care, added: “If we are going to reach true gender equality in the workplace, it is fathers in leadership positions that need to be open about balancing their work and family and aren’t afraid to break the mould of their predecessors.”