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More new parents plan to take shared leave

26 March 2018

More new parents plan to take shared leaveUptake of shared parental leave has been slow since it was introduced but new research suggests that attitudes could be changing.

Shared parental leave - introduced in April 2015 - allows parents to share up to 50 weeks of maternity leave and 37 weeks of statutory pay after their baby arrives. Parents can take time off separately or they can be at home together for up to six months.

Around 285,000 couples are eligible every year for shared parental leave. However, according to the BBC, the Government has admitted that around half of Brits are still unaware the option exists and that take-up "could be as low as 2%".

But that could be about to change. A survey by the financial comparison website, money.co.uk, has found that new and expectant parents are increasingly likely to take advantage of shared parental leave.

Its findings show that 58% of expectant parents say they will be sharing parental leave, compared to 16% who've had their child in the last five years. However, one in two prospective fathers said they were unlikely to share parental leave because they earn more money than their partner.

Nicola Miller, a PR manager from London, said: "Shared parental leave worked for us because it meant my partner was able to stay at home for eight weeks instead of the standard one to two offered by paternity leave and still receive statutory pay.

"I'd definitely recommend shared parental leave to other parents, it's a surprisingly flexible way for you and your partner to spend more time bonding with your newborn without being financially penalised for doing so."

The Government plans to spend £1.5m on a new campaign to inform parents about shared parental leave and encourage higher take-up.

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