New analysis of last year’s figures shows low take-up of Shared Parental Leave continues.
Only two per cent of eligible couples took Shared Parental Leave last year, according to an analysis by a leading law firm.
The analysis of HMRC figures for 2019/2020 by EMW LLP shows only 13,100 couples applied for SPL last year. That is an increase of 23% on the year before, but the law firm says numbers are still “exceptionally low” given the scheme has been in place for five years.
It says the figures show nearly 650,000 women claimed maternity pay last year. Previous research by the firm also shows low take-up of paternity pay, with two thirds of dads not claiming it – about the same level as in 2012/13.
The researchers blame in part the low rate of paternity and Shared Parental Pay. The statutory rate for both is £151.20 or 90% of their average weekly earnings, whichever is lowest. They also argue that more should be done to promote SPL to employees.
Jon Taylor, principal at EMW, said: “For many, seeing their pay cut to £150 a week is unpalatable, if not impossible in the months after having a baby.”
He added that raising the level of pay would show the government was serious about closing the gender pay gap. He said: “It could make a genuine impact on some women’s earnings if they were in a position to return to work more quickly.”