Shared Parental Leave celebrated its first birthday this month, however, take up by male parents has been low. A recent study suggests that there has been less than 1% take up of the policy despite over 250,000 working fathers being eligible. One factor behind the suggested low take up is believed to be that many male parents would not be able to afford to live off the statutory maximum weekly pay of £139.58 a week, interestingly this rate has been frozen for 2016.
The study also revealed that some employers pay enhanced maternity pay but not enhanced shared parental pay. Another issue is perception. Over half the men surveyed said they felt they may receive unfavourable treatment for taking SPL, or, that their employers did not support SPL. Interestingly, 55% of the women surveyed stated that they did not wish to share their leave with their partner.
Awareness could also be a factor. The low take up in seasonal/term based industries suggests many people are not aware of their rights. For example a male teacher, whose partner is not a teacher, could take SPL during term time, he could transfer the leave to his partner during the holidays meaning both could be at home. The leave could then transfer back to the teacher once term resumed. If you would like advice on this issue please contact us.