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
Back in November in my first blog post, why I’m taking six months off work to look after my kids, I talked about some of the reasons for me deciding to take shared parental leave. One of those reasons was that I hoped it would give me a chance to be an equal parent alongside my wife. Without wanting to sound too sanctimonious about it, the idea that I would head off to work every day while leaving all the childcare stuff to her never seemed quite right. I didn’t want my role to be a bit-part: I wanted to be in the thick of it, getting my hands dirty (often quite literally). Continue reading