Shared Parental Leave: Parents unaware of changes and reluctant to take up Government’s offer


• 65% of parents unaware of new changes to share parental leave

• 84% of parents would not take up the offer of Shared Parental Leave

• 15% of employers have a clear idea of how they will implement new provision for their staff


(00.01 12.06.14) New research has revealed that many parents across the UK are totally unaware of and confused by new legislation being introduced in April next year enabling mothers and fathers to share parental leave.


In a survey of 1,000 parents for Good Care Guide, the TripAdvisor style website for the care industry, two thirds (65%) of parents said they were unaware of the changes being introduced in 2015.


Of those that did know about the Shared Parental Leave (SPL) changes, many were confused about the implications.  Nearly half of parents (43%) were under the misconception that parents will have equal rights, when in reality it will be up to the mother or primary adopter to sign off.


41% were correct in thinking that SPL means that parents will be able to split Parental Leave equally between them while one in ten thought that parents will be able to access the same levels of parental leave pay, when in reality it will depend on what each company will offer.


84% of parents have said that the new SPL legislation will not (or would not have for parents of children over the age of one) make any difference to how they take leave after their baby is or was born.


Despite this, 65% of parents said that they would jump at the chance to have two to five years off work in order to raise their family if it was an option offered by employers.


Jennifer Liston-Smith, Director of Coaching & Consultancy at My Family Care, the company that provides childcare support to businesses across the country says: “Our research shows that the majority of parents are very unsure about the Shared Parental Leave changes, with a large chunk of people not even knowing about them altogether.  This highlights a need to educate parents-to-be about their options – choices that they have never had to quite this degree in the past, enabling women to spend more time at work while their partner takes on the childcare role.”


This research comes just two weeks after a survey from My Family Care and Hogan Lovells revealed that a mere 15 per cent of employers had a clear idea of how they will implement the new provision for their staff who are parents.


It found that the biggest concern for employers is around the amount of internal administrative changes the legislation will create, while companies also revealed anxieties over managing resources during shorter, potentially more flexible periods of leave and communicating the changes to staff.


Ms Liston-Smith added: “Despite these understandable concerns, we have found that the majority of companies we are working with have welcomed the idea of SPL to support their staff and family-friendly policies, and also as providing more talent retention choices for those women who are significant or main bread-winners within families.  However, it’s important that everyone understands the implications of the new legislation for families and businesses and our research shows there is a clear need for more education by the Government. There are solid plans in place to inform employers but it seems the public wants to know more too; and sooner rather than later.”


To help businesses confused about the changes in SPL, My Family Care, with the support of Hogan Lovells, have created a downloadable Shared Parental Leave: HR Resources Pack providing information and advice to HR departments with questions over what the changes mean to them.


The guide includes:


• Advice on how companies can get to grips with SPL

• Bringing SPL to life – a case study with model answers

• Thoughts from industry experts on the implications of SPL for business and gender equality

• Access to HR and Diversity webinars


Please note that at 12:30 on Thursday the 19th of June, 2014, My Family Care will be joined by legal experts and leading employers to present a Webinar for HR and Diversity professionals called Shared Parental Leave: Nine Months and Counting. This webinar is free and you can register here.

Press release


About Author

Founder of Eclectic Enchantments blog, Erika has also been a beauty writer, fashion writer and Beauty & Accessories Editor for a large online magazine before starting Erisea. Erika lives with her dog, Hendrix and beautiful baby girl. She suffers with Fibromyalgia and CFS, among other illnesses which leaves her housebound much of the time. Her passion is writing.

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