Shared Parental Leave undermined by employers silence

Firms are not proactive enough in encouraging dads to think about shared parental leave according to research



Shared Parental Leave may be undermined by firms failing to tell their employees about it.

New research has found a string of shocking statistics suggesting employers have a long way to go when it comes to keeping their teams up to speed with the policy.

The government is preparing to legislate so all large companies must make their parental policies public.

But rather than preparing for that measure survey data commissioned by conference call provider PowWowNow suggests firms are failing fathers-to-be.

Around a quarter of bosses admitted their firms took no action to inform employees about shared parental leave while a further 40% only told workers about the policy if someone actually asked about it.

Only a third of companies include information about shared parental leave entitlement in employee welcome packs.


As well as surveying employers the research quizzed working dads. Almost half said they didn’t feel comfortable broaching the topic with their boss and three quarters said they felt there was a stigma around taking time off to do childcare. All of which explains why shared parental leave has failed to take off. Estimates of how many dads have used the policy vary from 1%-10% of those eligible. Yet high uptake is cited as a possible way of closing the gender pay gap, reducing the impact of having children on women’s careers and improving male mental health by enabling them to be more involved in family life and spend more time with their kids.

However the research suggested there’s still an appetite for shared parental leave. 82% of those questioned said they aren’t happy with their work life balance and that work gets in the way of spending as much time with their family as they’d like to.

Jason Downes, MD of PowWowNow, commented on the findings, “Employers’ decisions can directly affect how comfortable fathers feel taking time away from work to look after their child. It’s vital that employers do more to ensure their workers clearly understand their parental leave rights and feel able to discuss these with their boss.

“Taking advantage of technology to put in place effective flexible working arrangements can help to normalise open conversations around leave-taking for child-care reasons, and implementing family-friendly policies can create an inclusive workplace environment that allow work and child-raising to go hand-in-hand.”

PowWowNow boss Jason Downes

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