News Script: Would you opt for Shared Parental Leave?
MA coursework 2016
Cue: It’s coming up to a year since the Liberal Democrat government implemented Shared Parental Leave. Anna Fleck took a look at how effective the policy has been over the past 12 months and where it’s headed.
Shared Parental Leave is a policy still in its infancy. It allows for both partners to split the maternity and paternity leave so that both parents can take a turn in bringing up their children.
Adrian Dyer, a father of two, is a trade manager in Canary Wharf and also blogs for a support network called CityParents under a pseudonym City Dad. When Adrian took four months of paternity leave in 2012, Shared Parental Leave had not come into action.
Adrian Dyer, Blogger for CityParents: The snag was, it was four months of no pay at all, not even any statutory governmental pay coming in. So that was a bit tough, but luckily I had enough savings to pay the mortgage so I just dwindled them down and basically just went back to work when the money ran out.
In 2003, fathers were able to take only two weeks of ordinary paternity leave. This increased to six months of unpaid leave in 2011. Today, fathers can negotiate with their partners how much of the 50 weeks allotted leave they take between the two of them.
But Shared Parental Leave is still tricky for some. For example, if the father is the main source of income and his company doesn’t offer any enhanced leave pay, it can be difficult to take the time off. And so it varies on personal circumstances and what the company is willing to offer.
Josephine Franks, who works at bloggers network Mumsnet, thinks more needs to be done to encourage equality between parents.
Josephine Franks, Editorial Assistant at Mumsnet: People saying that it's not equal is really about the fact that while a lot of employers have really good maternity packages, the same isn't true for Shared Parental Leave. So, it could be that if people take shared parental leave then both parents have to take the statutory payments, which isn't really financially viable for a lot of families.
Although Britain has shown progress towards equal parental leave, it is still some way behind countries such as Sweden.
Whilst Shared Parental Leave means that both parents can take off time to look after their children, the fact that it is still the mother’s decision means that it is still an uneven playing field for fathers.
This is Anna Fleck, reporting for City News.
In: Shared Parental Leave is a policy…
Out: …reporting for City News.
Dur: 02:00 mins