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New research has revealed that male employees are twice as likely as women to be put off taking Shared Parental Leave (SPL) due to fears of being resented by their colleagues for doing so.

Research of over 1000 UK employees from employment specialist Portus Consulting found that one in six male workers (16%) would be deterred from taking Shared Parental Leave with their partner because they are concerned how it might impact their employer or how their colleagues might react to them taking up the new right.

Just 7% of women had the same concerns.

Shared Parental Leave was introduced in April this year to provide working parents, including couples adopting, civil partners, live-in partners and biological parents with the flexibility to divide up to 50 weeks leave and 37 weeks of pay however they wish.

The leave can be taken together, separately or overlapped. The only exception is the first two week which new mums are legally required to take off to recover from the birth.

It is expected to affect some 250,000 couples every year.

Warm reception for Shared Parental Leave

The research found that the new regulation has been warmly received by employees, with 13% saying they are considering, or would consider, requesting it over the next five years.

Just 28% of those eligible to take Shared Parental Leave say they would not be deterred, whilst 23% said they did not wish to take the leave. Around 19% of women who would be eligible say they do not want to take shared leave.

Adam Riley from Portus Consulting’s called it ‘striking’ that male employees were concerned that their colleagues or employers will object to them taking their statutory rights to shared leave.

Reasons for slow uptake

When asked what the major issues putting them off from requesting Shared Parental Leave 2% didn’t want to be the first person in their organisation to make a request.

The most prominent reason stated by 28% was the financial impact it would have on them as a couple.

Both men and women were concerned about how taking Shared Parental Leave would have a detrimental affect on their careers – one in 20 employees believe Shared Parental Leave would harm their prospects of promotion.


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