Research today from My Family Care and the Women’s Business Council suggested that 1% of men in the organisations surveyed – not 1% of fathers as was widely reported – had taken up the opportunity of shared parental leave.Two surveys published to mark the anniversary of the introduction of shared parental leave suggest that its take-up could be around 30%, although more in-depth research is needed. Widespread reporting today that the take-up of shared parental leave was just 1% has demonstrated much of the media's appetite for an extreme headline, but may also have hidden much higher take-up than anticipated. Shared parental leave became available for parents of babies due on or after 5 April 2015. It allows working parents to share leave and pay, provided they qualify.
XpertHR is currently conducting its own research into employers' handling of shared parental leave: Take part in the survey nowThe combined survey of more than 1,000 individuals and 200 HR directors found that opting to take shared parental leave was deeply dependent on individual circumstances, particularly on their financial situation and levels of pay on offer from employers. The 1% figure was based on data from 200 HR directors about their organisations' employees and was given as a proportion of all men employed, not a percentage of fathers eligible to take shared parental leave. Of the 1,000 employees surveyed, 10% had had a baby or adopted a child in the past 12 months. Of this group, 24% of women and 30% of men said they had taken shared parental leave. While the subset is small, another piece of research by Totaljobs among 628 respondents revealed similar findings. Out of its 86 respondents that had a child in the past year, 31% said they are using or had used their right to shared parental leave; 48% did not use their right; and 21% said they were not eligible.