Appetite For a Parenting Revolution

Fed up dads are desperate for a revolution when it comes to parenting traditions – with millions of men wanting to spend more time with their new-born children. Shock new stats show that almost two thirds of dads would be keen on taking much more time off work to spend with their children when they are first born.

Yet, while 62% of fathers say they want to use shared parental leave laws to get a more even split with mums – as allowed in recently legislation - almost none of them have actually done so.

study from the University of Birmingham suggested that a number of factors are getting in the way of the change that dads crave. It pointed to workplace culture, societal expectations and financial pressures all being serious barriers to progress.

Since April 2015 parents have been able to share up to 50 weeks to leave and 37 weeks of pay. Estimated suggest as little as one per cent of couples have used the rules, suggesting old habits are proving hard to shift.

Interestingly mums are more lukewarm when it comes to change. A survey showed how 41% open to a more equal split of time - but 42% are opposed to using the new laws. Only just over one in four (27%) of dads are against the idea.

The survey findings come from research carried out by financial services company, Legal & General. It surveyed just over 1,000 UK parents with children up to the age of 16.

It found a particularly strong appetite among Generation Z – the newest and youngest age group of parents. In fact, 69% of 16-24-year-old respondents would like to split their parental leave either equally or more evenly. That compares to 54% of millennials.

Managing Director of LGI Direct Paula Llewellyn said: “It’s clear from our survey that there’s a strong appetite in the UK to make use of shared parental leave – and that this far outweighs the current use of the scheme. 

“Parents in 2020 face a number of challenges - and we thought it was important to find out what people really think about those challenges and what their views tell us about the changing landscape for the decade ahead.”

There was a strong regional variation in the appetite for shared parental leave according to the survey. Parents in Glasgow were more than twice as likely as those in Belfast to express a desire for a more equal split in time between mums and dads (68% to 33%).

Legal & General also found that 54% of dads claim they’ve experienced ' gender bias ' in relation to parenting, compared to 50% of mums.

However, dads do still need to up their game when it comes to housework. The survey found that women were more likely than men to have responsibility for every single chore around the home.

Keep up with the top stories from Reader’s Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.