Government urges fathers to ‘share the joy’

father and baby, Shared Parental Leave

The government is urging fathers to ‘share the joy’ of children and take up the offer of Shared Parental Leave.

The new campaign shows parents that they can both share childcare in their baby’s first year, and maintain their careers.

Research suggests that while 285,000 couples every year qualify for Shared Parental Leave, the take up could be as low as two per cent. Around half of the general public are unaware that the option exists for parents.

Shared Parental Leave was introduced in 2015 to offer choice to eligible parents when it comes to childcare, and allow mothers to return to work sooner if they wish to. The policy benefits employers who can retain talent in their workforce and can contribute to closing their gender pay gap.

The workplace right for eligible parents allows them to share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay after having a baby. They can take time off separately or they can be at home together for up to six months.

Speaking about the new campaign, Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said, “Shared Parental Leave gives choice to families.”

“Dads and partners don’t have to miss out on their baby’s first step, word or giggle – they can share the childcare, and share the joy.”

“Employers can reap the benefits too.”

“We know that flexibility in work is proven to create happier, more loyal and more productive workforces.”

“Providing truly flexible employment options is a key part of the Industrial Strategy, the government’s long-term plan to build a Britain fit for the future by helping businesses create a better, higher-paying jobs in every part of the UK.”

As part of the campaign, parents who have taken Shared Parental Leave have shared their experience of how the policy has benefitted their families.

Leila Reyburn and Tom Markwell work for charities Mind and St Mungo’s in London. They had a baby girl, Pearl in 2016 and decided to take Shared Parental Leave with Leila taking the first ten months, and Tom taking the final two months.

Leila said, “Shared Parental Leave meant that I could say yes when the opportunity came for me to take a promotion at work.”

“I could go back to work early to cover for my line manager while he was on secondment.”

“But it was also nice that I didn’t have to put Pearl in nursery at the same time and know that she was bonding with her dad.”

“It means she now has a strong connection with us both and is equally attached to us both.”

To see if you could be eligible, click here.

Alison Simpson
About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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