14 December 2016
Shared parental leave scheme ‘falling flat’
The shared parental leave scheme has failed to ignite since its introduction last April, experts have warned.
According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), only one in 20 new fathers and 8% of new mothers have taken up the shared arrangements.
And the research found that just one organisation in five has received a request from a male employee to share leave with their partner.
The report indicated that a shortage of free childcare for youngsters under two may be holding back the number of women returning to work after maternity leave.
Rachel Suff from the CIPD said: "Shared parental leave was a milestone for gender equality when it was introduced last year.
"The intentions were right and, on paper, it gives new parents much more choice and flexibility about taking leave to look after a new baby, particularly if the mother is the higher earner and if dads want to play a bigger role in their child's early life.
"However, the complexity of the rules and the financial gap between statutory maternity pay and statutory shared parental pay in the early weeks are clearly outweighing these positives in reality for many."
The expert added that ministers should now look carefully at how a shared parental leave step-change can be made.