Why Don't Dads Share Parental Leave?

Why Don't Dads Do Parental Leave?
5 April 2016

A year on from the introduction of shared parental leave, and it seems just 1% of dads have opted to take advantage of the scheme.

The Guardian reports:

"Research among 200 employers by the firm My Family Care found that more than four out of 10 had not seen a single male employee take up the right. At 11%, only between 0.5% and 1% of male workers had taken shared parental leave and fewer than 10% reported more than 1% takeup. A further quarter of firms were not able to give a figure."

It's depressing, but hardly surprising. There are countless reasons why dads might not feel compelled to take time off work on significantly reduced pay in order to care for their child - for starters, studies show that half of men say they worry they'd be perceived negatively at work if they did.

*Picture me wearily laying my head on my desk in despair at this point*

Not that dads are to blame for that, I hasten to add. If shared parental leave is ever going to usher in the step change we need to see around working parenthood then employers are going to have start making it seem like a compelling option. There's still a long way to go.

Finances play a massive part too, of course. But as someone whose husband took shared parental leave following the birth of our third child, I can confidently say that neither of us can recall how many times we dined on beans on toast during my husband's stint of shared parental leave, whereas, a couple of years down the line, we still talk fondly about that very precious stage in our family's life.

Most importantly, I think we are all still reaping its benefits. My daughter has an indescribably close bond with her father which I'm certain is a legacy of his months on shared parental leave, while our older two children gained enormously from those months of Daddy just being, well, so much more present.

But we'd love to hear your views on this. Could you ever see your baby's father opting to take shared parental leave? And how would you feel about it? Come and share your views over on our Facebook page or leave us a comment below.


  • Sunni17

    from looking at all the rules and policies its all very complicated and alot of private companies id worry wouldnt keep jobs open while they took parental leave

    • admin EDITOR

      It's such a shame that that's a concern for people Sunni17 but I can see what you mean, it does seem complicated.

  • abc

    its because wives will not share the time off because they are selfish and lazy. my wife being one. i'd love to spend more time with our next child.

    • admin EDITOR

      hey abc, thanks for sharing your point of view. As a mum who spent a few years at home with my daughter I can say first hand "lazy" wasn't an option. Maybe try talking to your wife, I'm sure she'd appreciate the support when your next child comes along.

    • sallycoa

      If you think so little of your wife, maybe a 'next child' isnt the best idea?

  • delta181

    I was actually enjoying my maternity leave and didn't want to have to run back to a job I hated so was never going to share my mat leave. That being said if they made it so that both parents were entitled to mat leave it would be fantastic bit let's face it that is never going to happen.

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