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Shared Parental Leave – Why is it not happening?

The statistics for take up of the not so new, shared parental leave rights, have not improved much. Just 9200 new parents took advantage of it in 2017/2018 only 500 more than the previous year.

There are a number of suggestions as to why this may be, but the most convincing to those in this situation is that generally the husband is a higher earner than his wife is. Until this pay inequality is addressed, the decision for those starting a family is generally driven by the family economics.

Given the low rates of shared parental pay this situation is unlikely to change. In the UK the first 6 weeks are paid at 90% of the normal weekly earnings. Thereafter it reduces to a maximum of £145.18 for the next 39 weeks.

In Sweden parents are entitled to 480 days of paid parental leave when a child is born or adopted. This number is high even by international standards but what makes it more impressive is that for 390 of those days, parents are entitled to nearly 80% of their normal pay.