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Two thirds of businesses fail to tell fathers about paternity leave rights

one in 10 fathers have taken Shared Parental Leave (SPL) since its introduction in 2015

Almost two thirds (63%) of employers do not tell new dads-to-be about the right to request Shared Parental Leave (SPL).

New research commissioned by conference call provider PowWowNow found that an alarming two in five employers do not give their staff any information about SPL unless they actively request it. While nearly a quarter (23%) have taken no action at all to educate their employees about the right to SPL.

SPL was introduced in 2015 to allow parents to share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of statutory pay between them following the birth of a child and is designed to allow couples to split child-caring roles more equally.

The report found that just one in 10 fathers have taken Shared Parental Leave (SPL) since its introduction in 2015. Yet high uptake of the policy would contribute towards reducing the impact of having children on women’s careers and enable more men to spend time with their new-borns.

The study further found that just a third of businesses include SPL information in their employee welcome packs, meaning details are not easily available for dads-to-be when planning their parental leave.

With nearly half (46%) of fathers admitting they do not feel comfortable broaching the topic of SPL with their employer, it is clear more needs to be done by businesses to actively educate their workforce about parental leave rights.

The workplace plays an influential role when it comes to the time fathers take caring for their new-born as highlighted by the fact that four out of five (82%) fathers reported they felt their work schedule prevented them from doing as much childcare as they wanted.

Shockingly, three quarters of fathers also believe there is a cultural stigma around new dads taking time off work to look after their children.

Jason Downes, MD of PowWowNow, commented on the findings,“Employers’ decisions can directly affect how comfortable fathers feel taking time away from work to look after their child. It’s vital that employers do more to ensure their workers clearly understand their parental leave rights and feel able to discuss these with their boss.

“Taking advantage of technology to put in place effective flexible working arrangements can help to normalise open conversations around leave-taking for child-care reasons, and implementing family-friendly policies can create an inclusive workplace environment that allow work and child-raising to go hand-in-hand.”

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