Just over half of UK adults believe childcare should be shared equally between parents, according to a survey by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. 53 per cent of those questioned said childcare should be the equal responsibility of both parents.
The research was carried out ahead of the introduction of Shared Parental Leave (SPL), which will apply to parents of babies born or adopted from 5 April this year. The new rules mean that parents can split 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay between them in the baby’s first year. SPL also lets parents suggest a flexible pattern of leave to their employer and allows for up to three separate blocks of leave, though employers can agree to more.
Because our experiences of working life as employees have a big impact on our view of business more generally, childcare and flexible working are important issues for The Great Business Debate.
Neil Carberry, CBI Director for Employment & Skills, believes that the detail of dividing childcare responsibilities between parents is a decision for those individuals. He also said:
“Many fathers want to play a stronger role in their child’s development. The new shared parental leave system allows them to do this by giving families flexibility with their leave arrangements.
“Businesses support the new scheme because it supports greater diversity in the workplace – and allows women to return to work earlier, if they want to — avoiding a loss of key business skills.
“Good guidance will be essential to helping firms embed the new system effectively.”
So what do you think? As an employee or employer, do you welcome shared parental leave? Do you have the information you need to either use it as a parent or implement it as a business? Join the debate here and on twitter @bizdebate