As many as 30% of fathers could be taking up shared parental leave

A year on from the introduction of shared parental leave in April 2015, take-up is looking higher than initially expected. However, conflicting news reports around surveys into the subject suggest more research is needed to evaluate its popularity.

‘Just 1% of fathers take the opportunity to split time off’. This shockingly low statistic about shared parental leave hit the headlines in April. The survey from which it was pulled – conducted by My Family Care and the Women’s Business Council – questioned more than 1,000 individuals, as well as 200 HR Directors about take-up across their companies. But are numbers really so low?

The facts behind the figures
The survey had actually found that 1% of men across the companies surveyed had taken shared parental leave, not 1% of fathers. Of the 100 respondents who were eligible – for instance, those who had had a baby or adopted a child within the past 12 months – 30% of men and 24% of women had taken shared parental leave.

The numbers from this survey may be too low to make a broader conclusion, but they do correspond with research by Total jobs, which revealed a similar take-up rate of 31% among their 628 respondents.

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