New resource helps shared parental leave scheme celebrate 2nd birthday

4 April 2017

We are delighted to have contributed to a new shared parental leave resource developed by Alliance Manchester Business School, Lancaster University School of Management and work-life balance charity, Working Families, which was launched to coincide with the second anniversary of the scheme.

The resource, which includes video and written case studies of eight couples who have taken SPL, along with six other themed videos made up of testimonies from the couples – including tips for employers and tips for parents – is available now on the Working Families website.

A new survey carried out to support the launch found that more than half of dads (52%) would make use of shared parental leave, in order to spend time bonding with their new child, and because they and their partner want to share care. Of those fathers who said they wouldn’t use the scheme, more than a third said this was because they couldn’t afford to. A quarter of fathers didn’t know about SPL.

Sarah Jackson OBE, Chief Executive of Working Families, said: “It’s obvious many fathers want to spend time bonding with their child in the early days and to share care with their partner.  The fact that more than half of fathers want to make use of SPL shows how far we have come on the journey towards shared care and shared careers. Good news for families but also good news for the economy.

“Father willingness and aspiration is there.  As we embark on EU exit negotiations the government has said it wants to protect and enhance the rights people have at work.  An excellent place to start would be making SPL a day one right for fathers.

“But families are unlikely to make use of SPL unless it makes financial sense for them to do so.  The government should consider equalising statutory maternity pay and shared parental pay – to prevent SPL being a second-class option and encourage more fathers to use it.  Employers going beyond the minimum pay for SPL would also make it a more realistic option for more families.”

The video case book follows a study in which Dr Emma Banister and Dr Ben Kerrane identified that one of the key barriers individuals face when considering SPL is the lack of accessible, credible and accurate information about the scheme.

Dr Emma Banister, Senior Lecturer in Consumer Research at Alliance Manchester Business School, said: “Many employers don’t have the resources to be able to provide dedicated information to their employees. And so working parents can find it difficult to work out the options available to them.

“These new films let parents and employers hear the honest, lived experiences – both positive and negative – of those who have used SPL. They’re freely available to everyone and we hope they can help bridge the gap in knowledge of the scheme.”

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