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Share the joy: parents urged to take up offer of shared parental leave

View profile for Sally Morris
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Since the introduction of Shared Parental Leave (SPL) in 2015, the take-up has been dismally low.

Official figures suggest that as many as 285,000 couples qualify for SPL every year, but as few as 2 per cent take up the scheme.

Experts also suggest that just half of the general public are aware that the option exists for new parents.

Parents are allowed to legally share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay after having a baby. Under the new rules, they can take the time separately or they can be home together for up to six months.

A campaign has been launched to raise awareness of this fact. The Government hopes its “Share the joy” movement will reach parents through digital website advertising, social media, adverts in train stations and on commuter routes to inform parents of their rights.

Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said: “Shared Parental Leave gives choice to families. Dads and partners don’t have to miss out on their baby’s first step, word or giggle – they can share the childcare, and share the joy.

“Employers can reap the benefits too. We know that flexibility in work is proven to create happier, more loyal and more productive workforces.”

Minister for Women Victoria Atkins, added: “Providing parents with choice and flexibility in how they balance childcare responsibilities is a key step towards achieving equality in the workplace and beyond.”

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