The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has suggested that take-up of shared parental leave ‘could be as low as 2%’.
As a result, the government has launched a new campaign, which aims to raise awareness in regard to workers’ employment rights.
According to the government, around 285,000 couples qualify for shared parental leave every year, but many do not take up the offer. ‘Around half’ of the general public are unaware of the initiative, the Department revealed.
The government is seeking to encourage working parents to make use of shared parental leave in their baby’s first year.
Commenting on the issue, 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.’
However, Sarah Jackson, Chief Executive of charity Working Families, stated that some families can’t afford for fathers to take the leave. She said: ‘If the government is serious about equality at work and tackling the gender pay gap, it should consider also introducing a properly paid, standalone period of extended paternity leave for fathers.’