More than half of fathers would use Shared Parental Leave, according to our new survey carried out to mark the second anniversary of the scheme.
Over 300 fathers took part in our father’s survey together with the Working Families charity. We found:
- 52% said they would make use of the scheme. The main reasons they gave were to spend time bonding with their new child, and because they and their partner want to share care.
- Of those fathers who said they wouldn’t use the scheme, more than a third said this was because they couldn’t afford to.
- A quarter of fathers didn’t know about SPL.
From the hundreds of fathers we spoke to across the DaddiLife Community, we found that more and more dads want to take extended parental leave beyond what is currently statutory, but don’t feel that it is readily available. They want to embrace more parental responsibility than ever, and time with their young families is now just as important as time at work.
However, what is clear from these results is that British fathers don’t yet have enough awareness and access to SPL. To help answer your questions, we brought in Helen Kay of HMK Legal to answer your most frequently asked questions.
Who is eligible?
You and your partner must satisfy these eligibility tests
How much SPL can you get?
If you’re eligible & your partner ends her maternity leave (or allowance) and pay early you can:
- Take the remainder of your partner’s 52 weeks’ maternity (or adoption) leave as SPL.
- Take the rest of your partner’s statutory maternity (or adoption) pay (or maternity allowance) as Shared Parental Payment (SHPP). Shared Parental Payment is £140.98 per week, or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lower (the rate of ShPP is reviewed each year in April).
How does it work?
You can take leave in blocks – you don’t have to take it all in one go. You can take up to 3 separate blocks of SPL. If your partner is eligible you can take up to 3 blocks each.
You can share the leave if you’re both eligible. You and your partner can take SHPL at the same time or different times.
SPL must be taken between the baby’s birth and first birthday (or within 1 year of adoption).
When can SPL & SHPP start?
For SHPL, the mother must have returned to work (which ends maternity or adoption leave) or have given notice that she will be ending her maternity (or adoption) leave. You can start ShPL whilst your partner is still on maternity (or adoption) leave, provided she has given notice to end it.
For ShPP, the mother must give notice of the date she intends her maternity (or adoption) pay (or maternity allowance) to end. You can start SHPP whilst your partner is still on maternity (or adoption) pay, provided she has given notice to end it.
How do you apply for ShPL & ShPP?
You have to follow the rules for starting SPL & SHPP and need to give your employer at least 8 weeks’ written notice of the dates when you intend to take leave.
Check if your employer has a Shared Parental Leave Policy and if so contact the relevant person (this may be HR, your line manager or a designated person).
If your employer doesn’t have a Shared Parental Leave Policy, speak to your line manager or the person who generally deals with personnel issues.
If you have any other questions, you can reach Helen at firstname.lastname@example.org