Shared Parental Leave


It's been just over a year since Shared Parental Leave (SPL) was introduced in the UK, promising to bring a radical change to the way mothers and fathers divided up work and childcare. 

The government predicted a take-up of 2 to 8 % in the first year but it is being suggested that only 1 % of eligible fathers have made use of the provision. This is similar to the amount of fathers who took advantage of additional paternity leave (which was replaced by SPL). 

Despite the social shifts of recent decades, traditional ideas about the roles of men and women, particularly when it comes to caring for a baby, remain deep-rooted in the corporate world.  Men who reduce their working hours in order to care for children fear being stigmatized, which could partly account for the low take-up of SPL. Only receiving the Statutory Paternity Pay of £139.58 a week also makes a huge difference.

At the end of last year the government announced that grandparents could qualify for SPL in the future (expected to be implemented by 2018).  This means that working grandparents would also be able to take time off, sharing parental pay in order to help care for their grandchildren.

Fiona Haworth. You can contact Fiona on


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