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Some 44% of working mums would consider sharing their maternity leave with their partner, according to Workingmums.co.uk annual survey.
The number of women who would consider sharing their leave when the new shared parenting legislation comes in next year has risen by 3% since last year and may in part be due to a rising number of women who are the main breadwinners in their families – over 17% of women who were living with a partner say they are the main breadwinner and only in a small number of cases is this because their partner has been made redundant or had to reduce their hours.
The survey of over 2,390 working parents, sponsored by McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd, covers a wide variety of issues, from childcare and flexible working to finances, discrimination and self employment.
It shows that, despite the rise in women breadwinners, the number of women who claim to split childcare and housework equally with their partners is just 21%, down from 27% last year. Some 17% say their partners work flexibly with 4% of partners working part time.
Many women said the economic situation was affecting how long they took for maternity leave. Some 46% had returned to work early due to the recession or cost of living.
Some 10% only took between one and three months’ maternity leave. The majority, however, took between seven and 12 months. Although 70% said they went back to work because they needed the money, 60% said they would work even if money was not an issue.
Other findings from the survey include:
Gillian Nissim, founder of Workingmums.co.uk, said: “Our annual survey always throws up a wealth of information on the way women are working or would like to work and what the hurdles many face when attempting to reach their potential.
It is interesting to note the appetite for shared parenting in the light of expectations that initial take-up will not be significant.
This perhaps reflects a growing awareness among couples of the link between equality in the workplace and at home. It is vital that policy supports parents in having greater choice over how they balance work and family life.”