Executive Summary / Introduction
Employers need an agile workforce which can respond to the changing needs of today’s 24/7 society. It is important to attract, retain and promote the most talented employees, in order to maximise business performance. Fathers and partners increasingly want to play a significant role in bringing up their children, so the efficiency (and diversity) conscious employer cannot afford to miss the opportunity provided by shared parental leave (SPL).
Overall take up amongst fathers over the first year has not been as low as many believe. My Family Care’s survey found the proportion of all men taking SPL was 1%i. Though this may sound low, if every eligible father had taken SPL, it would still only be 5% of all men.ii Research by TotalJobs found take up amongst eligible men at around 30%.iii
Despite the demand, our survey has found that employers still have some way to go in effectively implementing the policy, communicating it to staff and inspiring a cultural shift towards more inclusive and gender-balanced workforces. This report illustrates key trends and challenges, and provides recommendations to employers, so they can make the most of the opportunities provided by SPL.
Shared parental leave (SPL) was created to give parents a real choice over how they care for their baby, while simultaneously challenging restrictive and outdated gender roles. For the first time, fathers have a real opportunity to be involved in the early development of their child before going back to work. It has been available to parents of babies due or children placed for adoption after the 5th April 2015.