United Kingdom

Shared parental leave becoming more popular

April 2018

Modern family life is changing and figures show that both parents are keen to share the time caring for their baby throughout its first year.

Figures from money comparison site money.co.uk show that the cost of raising a child is £75,000, so parents are planning to share parental leave by taking advantage of a government scheme.

Under the government scheme, introduced in 2015, Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) allows parents to share childcare responsibility for the child’s first year of life. Parents can share up to 50 weeks of maternity leave and 37 weeks of statutory pay following the baby’s arrival.

The survey of 2,000 parents and parents-to-be found that 58% of expectant parents will be sharing parental leave. The figure has jumped significantly from 16% five years ago.

These findings suggest that shared parental leave is becoming more popular, and according to HR Review, the ‘steady rise’ in shared leave could be a ‘positive move’ towards improved paternity rights and narrowing the gender pay gap. However, 1 in 2 prospective fathers still admit they’re unlikely to share parental leave because they earn more money than their partner, the results found.

The survey also found that 64% of parents say they already share the cost of raising their children.

One mother interviewed in the survey said: “Shared Parental leave worked for us because it meant my partner was able to stay at home for eight weeks instead of the standard 1-2 offered by paternity leave and still receive statutory pay.

“It’s a surprisingly flexible way for you and your partner to spend more time bonding with your newborn without being financially penalised for doing so.”

Editor in chief of money.co.uk Hannah Maundrell said: “Parents are facing a growing trend of expensive activities both pre and post birth, which is forcing people to buck traditional trends like getting married to start a family.

“When planning a family, it’s important to sit down and budget. There are a number of surprising costs that will add to your monthly outgoings, including during the conception stage, so it’s important to get your finances sorted.”

Jeff Fox, an Aon consultant, noted that the government scheme has had a slow take up. He said: “Large employers were reasonably quick to update their internal HR policies to accommodate the policy, but employee take-up has been cautious. The complexities involved for employers are perceived as a barrier so we see a lot of lip-service towards the arrangement with minimal active promotion.”

He added: “The aims [of the scheme to promote flexible working] are laudable and we recommend that all employers communicate the benefits of the scheme more broadly. Employers have a role to play in the ultimate success of shared parental leave.”


Aon UK Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England and Wales. Registered number: 00210725. Registered Office: The Aon Centre, The Leadenhall Building, 122 Leadenhall Street, London EC3V 4AN.