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More than 87 per cent of men say they would like to share parental leave with their partner after the birth of their child, but most are reluctant to ask their bosses, according to new research.
Almost a third said they thought their manager would not be understanding while more than 20 per cent thought their colleagues would make fun of them, a study of more than 1,000 men by law firm Slater & Gordon showed.
Over one fifth thought they would be overlooked for promotion if they took advantage of the new regulations.
The results showed that 47 per cent of men wanted to have a quarter share of parental leave while 37 per cent wished to split the time off with their partner in half.
Julie Morris, Head of the Employment Department at Slater & Gordon, said the new regulations on shared parental leave were a step in the right direction, but cultural changes will be necessary to make men more confident about asking for shared parental leave.
She said: “Our research shows that men clearly want to share in parental leave, but many fear that this will have a negative effect on their standing in the office or hamper their career prospects. A stigma is likely to exist about asking to share parental leave and a cultural shift will need to happen for men to not feel embarrassed about asking their boss.
“In other societies, significant change in fathers sharing parental leave has only happened after shared parental pay has been significantly increased to levels closer to normal working pay. The new regulations are an important step in the right direction, but more may still be necessary to achieve the major cultural shift we all hope to see.”
“Now it is vital that employers and employees both get behind the plans and make sure they know what the new rules are. Dads need to be made aware of this new right and feel secure that their employer will support them when taking leave.”
“Bosses have a very important role to play in promoting shared parental leave and making it the norm for employees. If they do that successfully then they will see a happier, motivated and more equal workforce and that can only be good for business.”
More than three quarters of men polled said they thought the new rules would increase the number of women in senior positions.
Almost half said the old rules held women back as there was no option for men to share the burden of caring for their new born.
Half of men questioned thought the new regulations will create a happier workforce and 44 per cent said it would make employees more “loyal”.
However, there is still confusion around the scheme, with 39 per cent of men admitting they don’t fully understand the new rules.