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Four in five potential parents would consider shared parental leave

Around four in five (83%) potential future parents will consider taking shared parental leave, a survey by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has found.

Shared parental leave (SPL) comes into force in April 2015. The new rules allow parents to split 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay between them in the child’s first year.

Employment relations minister Jo Swinson said this change will benefit employers through greater staff retention and loyalty.

“Parenting is a shared endeavour and couples want more flexibility when they are adapting to the demands of a new baby," she said.

“Shared parental leave will let couples choose how to share their childcare responsibilities in whatever way works best for them, and enable both parents to spend time developing that vital bond with their baby in the early stages.”

The survey also found that 75% of fathers would have considered SPL if it had been available when their children were born.

Julie McCarthy, head of policy, research and communications at Working Families, said that unless employers offer an enhanced SPL rate – as many do currently for maternity leave – then the actual take-up rate is likely to be much lower.

“There are some big companies looking to have complete equality, giving new fathers the same rights as mothers,” she said. “Without the enhanced rate being applied, many families may find SPL unaffordable.”