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Majority agree with sharing childcare equally

More than half of Britons think that childcare should be shared equally between parents, according to a survey by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The idea was more popular among men than women, but more than half of both groups thought that childcare should be shared equally.

Less than a quarter of respondents thought that childcare should be the mother's main responsibility.

More than one in five people thought that parents should have the right to choose how to divide caring responsibilities, depending on their circumstances.

Enthusiasm for Shared Parental Leave

The survey was carried out ahead of the introduction of Shared Parental Leave for parents of babies born or adopted from 5 April 2015.

Parents will be able to share a 50-week 'pot' of leave, and can decide to be off work at the same time or take turns, or a combination of both.

Blocks of leave can be taken continuously between partners or in up to three separate chunks, but employers can agree to more.

Four out of five people thinking about becoming a parent said they would consider taking Shared Parental Leave, according to the survey.

Two-thirds of parents said they would have taken it if it had been available at the time, with three-quarters of fathers showing enthusiasm compared with 63 per cent of mothers.

'Good thing' for the whole family

When men were asked what the benefits of sharing parental leave were, well over half said it would help them form a closer bond with their child, which would be a 'good thing for their whole family'.

Almost half (44 per cent) said it would 'feel fairer', and 39 per cent said they could let their partner get back to their job or advance their career. A third said it would improve their relationship with their partner.

Acas publications and services

pdf icon Shared Parental Leave: a good practice guide for employers and employees [538kb] can be downloaded for free on the Acas website, where further information for Parents and carers on Shared parental leave and pay is also available.

Acas experts can visit your organisation and help you develop effective policies for working parents; see Parents and carers: how Acas can help for details.

Acas training on Maternity, paternity and adoption will keep you up to speed with all the changes surrounding Shared Parental Leave, as well as improve your understanding of the law in the way it relates to other family-relevant employment legislation.


For free, impartial advice on any employment relations issue, call the Acas Helpline on 0300 123 1100, or consult Helpline Online.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

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