UK dads pooh-pooh maternity leave

  • 06/04/2016

By Penny Marshall

Sam Jackson is at the forefront of social change but he is still in the minority of men -- it is thought only 1 percent of fathers have taken the option of shared parental leave since it was introduced last year, a fraction of those expected to.

His company says getting men like Mr Jackson to embrace the opportunity took corporate commitment.

This is all a long way from days when the role of each parent was clearly defined.

Record numbers of women have now entered the workforce, but record numbers of men have not embraced the home.

Family life may have changed but not enough to make this shared parental leave on offer a goer for men and women.

More than half of mothers questioned said they did not want to share their maternity leave and half of the fathers said concerns over career progression put them off taking time off to care for their children.

Shared leave was one of the coalition flagship family policies, heralded as a way to encourage fathers to adopt a more Scandinavian style of parenting.

But these early results appear disappointing. In the UK new parents can share up to 52 weeks of leave, but while the mother must take a minimum of two weeks there are no such rules for men.

In Sweden it's very different. There, parents receive a total of 68 weeks.

There is no minimum for the mother but the father must take eight weeks. There, 25 percent of all leave is taken by the father.

UK's shared parental leave is one of the most generous packages of its type in Europe and a few like Mr Jackson are making the change, but for most families men sharing parental leave appears to be a step too far.

ITV News