More than half of adults support shared parental leave

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The majority of people in the UK think childcare should be shared equally between parents, suggests a survey.

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From April, parents will be able to share parental leave

Of the 2,138 adults questioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, 53 per cent said that childcare should be the equal responsibility of both parents, while 22 per cent believe a couple should have the right to choose how they divide caring responsibilities.

Just under a quarter said that childcare should be the mother’s main responsibility.

The survey comes ahead of the introduction of Shared Parental Leave (SPL), which will apply to parents of babies born or adopted from 5 April.

Under the new rules, parents will be able to split 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay between them in their baby’s first year.

Of those who took part in the survey that are parents (1,232), two-thirds said that they would have considered sharing parental leave if it had been available at the time.

Four in five survey participants thinking about having children in the future said they would consider taking shared parental leave when they become parents.

Asked about what they thought the main benefit of SPL would be, six in ten men said they thought they would form a closer bond with their child. Almost half (44 per cent) said it would ‘feel fairer’, and 39 per cent said it would mean their partner could get back to their job or progress their career.

More than half of men questioned (57 per cent) thought that being more involved in their baby’s life would be a good thing for their whole family, and around a third felt it would strengthen their relationship with their partner.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said, ‘This Edwardian notion that women should stay at home while men go out and support the family has simply no place in this day and age. We need a modern Britain and a fair society that works for families, not against them.

‘We know that mums and dads want more flexibility and choice when it comes to juggling their home and work lives and we’re listening and taking action.

‘That’s why we’ve introduced Shared Parental Leave so that parents can make their own decisions about how to raise their family, whether it’s giving women the choice to go back to work earlier or men the opportunity to spend more time with their children.’

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