Many had speculated, some time ago, that Shared Parental Leave might revolutionise workplaces and gender relations. A recent report suggests that if there is to be such a revolution, it is moving very slowly. Men are simply not taking up the chance to do it, at least in part due to perceptions in the workplace.
There does appear to be mounting pressure in Parliament to push these laws even further and to get employers to recognise, that flexible working, is good practice, regardless of gender. I always advise employers to approach flexible working applications with an open mind and to really engage with the facts; I think it is good practice and of course helps to protect them against Tribunal claims. Given the way the wind is blowing I think this is even truer.
Maria Miller MP believes there now needs to be a cultural revolution. Parental leave, introduced 18 months ago, means fathers can share the time off work after the birth of a child with their partners. “But the uptake is less than 5% of those eligible,” Miller said. “When dads are asked why that is, they say it’s because they feel it will be frowned upon in their workplace, that people will assume that they’re not committed, and that it could blight their careers.”