All about shared parental leave: how you can take it, why it’s important, and what the future holds
For simplicity this guide is written from the point of view of a dad who is living with their child’s mother. Shared parental leave is also available to mums, same-sex couples, adopters and step-parents. For complete details see the government’s official guide at https://www.gov.uk/shared-parental-leave-and-pay/overview.
Dads get to spend two weeks with their new baby before they have to go back to work, right?
Not any longer! Since April 2015 many dads in the UK have had the ability to take up to 50 weeks off work to look after a new baby.
It’s called shared parental leave, and in my opinion it’s a hugely positive move toward a modern and equal parenting culture, leaving behind the stone-age family model where women must do the childcare and housework and men must provide for the family.
Take up so far has been poor though – around 0.5% to 2% of those eligible according to one survey – and the change has not been without its critics.
In the hope of encouraging more men to take it, this is my guide to shared parental leave: what it is, why we need it, its strengths and drawbacks, and my hopes for the future. Continue reading
When I started my six months of shared parental leave in November I had grand plans to blog and tweet it throughout. After all, I was doing something relatively rare – there are not many men who work part time and take months away from their careers on multiple occasions to look after children – and I was sure that people would be interested in reading about it. The timing was perfect, with numerous mainstream and social media articles on flexible working for dads having appeared in recent weeks, culminating in Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement of his plans to take two months of paternity leave. It seemed like a great opportunity for me to talk publicly about something I feel strongly about, and a topic with a real groundswell of popular interest and enthusiasm. I was confident I would be able to find a few hours here and there to do some writing. Continue reading
Earlier this year my employer, a management consultancy, updated its maternity and paternity leave benefits to pay mums and dads equally for childcare leave. For me and my wife, not long after the birth of our second child, the decision that I and not her would take the bulk of the leave available to us didn’t need much thought: we would be better off financially, my wife was eager to get back to work, and I felt as though I hadn’t really had a chance to get to know the baby. Surely any man in those circumstances would feel the same? Continue reading