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Just 1.5% of couples shared their parental leave in the first quarter of this year, according to figures from the HMRC.
The figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show that only 3,000 out of 207,000 eligible families took advantage of SPL in the period.
Sarah Jackson, CEO of work-life balance charity Working Families, said organisations could be doing more to help support shared parental leave: “Employers have a really important role to play to improve understanding of what shared parental leave is.”
The figures are broadly in line with statistics from My Family Care and the Women’s Business Council in April which found that just 1% of men had taken it up while 55% of women said they wouldn’t want to share their maternity leave.
That survey said that taking up SPL was very much dependent on a person’s individual circumstances, particularly their financial situation and the paternity pay on offer from their employer. The main reasons why men had chosen not to take up SPL were financial affordability, lack of awareness and unwillingness from women to share their maternity leave. Moreover, 80% of both men and women agreed that a decision to share leave would be dependent on their finances and their employer’s enhancement of SPL.