More than 87 per cent of men say they would like to share parental leave with their partner after the birth of their child but most are reluctant to ask their bosses, new research has revealed.
Almost a third (31%) said they thought their manager would not be understanding while more than 20 per cent thought their colleagues would make fun of them, a study of more than 1,000 men showed.
Over one fifth (21%) thought they would be overlooked for promotion if they took advantage of the new regulations.
The results showed that 47 per cent of men wanted to have a quarter share of parental leave while 37 per cent wished to split the time off with their partner in half.
The research was commissioned by employment law specialists Slater and Gordon after new regulations were brought in last month.
The new rules apply to parents whose babies were born on or after 5 April 2015, allowing parents to share leave after a baby is born.
The amount of leave available is calculated using the mother’s 50-week entitlement after two weeks of compulsory leave following the baby’s birth.
If women reduce the amount of time they want to take away from the workplace their partner may opt to take the remainder.
Julie Morris, Head of the Employment Department at Slater and Gordon, said the new regulations were a step in the right direction, but cultural changes will be necessary to make men more confident about asking for shared parental leave.
She said: “Our research shows that men clearly want to share in parental leave, but many fear that this will have a negative effect on their standing in the office or hamper their career prospects. A stigma is likely to exist about asking to share parental leave and a cultural shift will need to happen for men to not feel embarrassed about asking their boss.
“In other societies, significant change in fathers sharing parental leave has only happened after shared parental pay has been significantly increased to levels closer to normal working pay. The new regulations are an important step in the right direction, but more may still be necessary to achieve the major cultural shift we all hope to see.”
“Now it is vital that employers and employees both get behind the plans and make sure they know what the new rules are. Dads need to be made aware of this new right and feel secure that their employer will support them when taking leave.”
“Bosses have a very important role to play in promoting shared parental leave and making it the norm for employees. If they do that successfully then they will see a happier, motivated and more equal workforce and that can only be good for business.”
More than three quarters of men polled (80%) said the new rules will increase the number of women in senior positions.
Almost half (45%) said the old rules held women back as there was no option for men to share the burden of caring for their new born.
Half of men questioned thought the new regulations will create a happier workforce and 44 per cent said it would make employees more “loyal”.
However, there is still confusion around the scheme with 39 per cent of men admitting they don’t fully understand the new rules.
Julie Morris, Head of the Employment Department at Slater and Gordon, said: “Shared parental leave has the potential to combat the stigma that still exists around maternity leave.
“It will take time for families and businesses to adapt but the new rules are a great way for businesses to demonstrate that they are very happy for both male and female employees to take on responsibility for early childcare.”
For further information or interview requests please contact
Tel: 0207 657 1698