Male employees are twice as likely to be deterred from taking shared parental leave (SPL) because they believe they will suffer resentment from their colleagues and boss, according to research from employee benefits consultancy Portus Consulting.

The research also reveals that 16 percent of men would be put off taking SPL with their partner over concerns their employer could not afford them taking time off, compared to just 7 percent of women.

The new right of SPL has generally received a warm welcome from employers, with 13 percent saying they are considering or would consider requesting it over the next five years. The new rights include 50 weeks leave and 37 weeks pay for couples who have or adopt babies after 5th April.

Just 28 percent of those eligible for SPL say they would not be deterred from requesting it and 23 percent say they do not want to take it. Also revealed in the study, around 19 percent of women who would be eligible for SPL say they have no interest in taking it.

Adam Riley, Director of Business Development at Portus Consulting says:

“The launch of shared parental leave is a good thing in general but in detail there are challenges for families and for businesses.

“Affordability is the major issue for individuals and businesses but it is striking that many male employees are concerned that their colleagues or employers will object to them taking their statutory rights to shared leave.

“The key for employers is to ensure that they have a clear policy on shared parental leave which is communicated to all staff so people understand what is on offer.”

The main deterrent for people about SPL is the potential financial impact. 28 percent say they cannot afford to take maternity or paternity leave they were entitled to before the new laws.

There is also a gender divide on what would deter employees for taking shared leave. Three times as many women (21 percent) say their partner earns more money than them meaning they cannot afford to share leave, compared with 7 percent of men.

There is equal concern among men and women about the impact of taking SPL. One in 20 employees believe sharing leave would harm their prospects. There is also a concern among organisations for being the first to request shared leave, with a round 2 percent saying they would not want to be the shared parental leave guinea pig in their company.





Amie Filcher is an editorial assistant at HRreview.