Run by Jamie Atkinson (Manchester Law School) and CPP’s Professor Ben Lupton, the Shared Parental Leave project explored some of the reasons for the low take up of Shared Parental Leave (SPL) in the UK.
SPL was introduced in April 2015 and was seen as in important step to support working parents who wish to share childcare, and a potential lever to reduce gender inequalities. A low rate of take up is likely to impact on the ability to meet these important agendas.
The research team wanted to test the view that men’s role as fathers is frequently unacknowledged in the workplace, and that they are consequently less likely to request SPL. The study examined the process of implementing, accessing and negotiating SPL from two perspectives:
- Male employees who have young children
- HR professionals
The research was able to shed light on the approach of companies to SPL and the role of HR professionals in promoting and enabling the take up of SPL. It also highlighted the experience of fathers in requesting and negotiating leave.
One outcome of the project was the development of a practical action plan for employers to support them with dealing with SPL requests.
Jamie and Ben are planning a larger piece of research to explore these issues further, which will aim to inform the actions of government, employers and other stakeholders in order to encourage and support greater take up of SPL. We would like to work with employers and other stakeholders to plan and deliver this research. We’d very much like to hear from you if you would like to be involved.
If you would like find out more about the study, or contribute to the development of further work, please contact Jamie Atkinson on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0161 247 6445 or follow Jamie on Twitter: @atkojl.