Shared parental leave will be available for parents whose child is expected to be born on or after 5th April 2015 or placed for adoption on or after that date. BIS commissioned research into attitudes towards the changes and to assess the potential take up of shared parental leave.
There were approximately 2000 respondents to the survey, of which around 50% were already parents. Of those surveyed 63% of women and 23% of men were currently the main childcare provider. The remainder either already shared childcare or had external support e.g. from extended family. 53% of respondents felt that childcare should be shared equally between parents and interestingly this view came from more men than women.
22% of respondents felt that parents should have the right to choose how to divide up their childcare and another 22% felt that childcare should be the mother’s main responsibility. 64% were aware of the forthcoming changes in the law and 67% of parents questioned said that had this been available to them they would have considered taking it. Again more men than women responded this way. Of those who were not yet parents 83% said that they would consider taking shared parental leave. Also interesting were the responses to how long it was acceptable for a woman to be off work after having a baby. In order of popularity; 28% thought 3-6 months, 24% said unlimited, 22% said 6-9 months and unsurprisingly more women than men thought it was acceptable to take a longer period off work following birth than men.
It remains to be seen if these statistics translate into take up of shared parental leave.