shared parental leave
"It’s not an affordable option for most working families," says TUC
On top of prejudice, societal pressures and expectations, many people still believe a new baby is best being looked after by its mother
When men spend more time with their kids, they benefit, their partner and children benefit, and society benefits too
Enabling dads to care for their children means mums would be better supported and more likely to return to the workplace
Shared Parental Leave (SPL) was introduced to give parents more choice and fathers a more realistic opportunity to take a
'Dads have had enough of being sidelined when it comes to parenting.'
With our second baby on the way we looked closely, and very excitedly, at the shared parental leave situation, and set about doing our sums. Maybe I could take four months, and my partner take five, and we overlap in the middle? Maybe we could both be off for a chunk of time and make it work? Nope.
Countless reports have looked at why this might be the case. Apart from the way the legislation is framed which puts the emphasis on women giving away part of their leave rather than on sharing, a lack of awareness about it and the complexity of deciding how it works best for individual couples, there are other big social and economic issues at play.
The norm is taking a huge toll on families - full timers feeling unhappy and overwhelmed in roles where they may be in almost constant demand; flexible workers finding themselves stuck in jobs where their experience and talent are wasted; couples pushed apart by very different experiences of the workplace and family life; and children stuck in the middle.
I'm very aware that I was lucky to have such a supportive employer. But I believe there are some steps every new parent can take to help manage their work/life balance. Firstly, I'd really recommend having a conversation about flexible working as soon as possible. For example, one of my friends who has young children will start work at 7:00am so she can leave early to do bath time.