The Parental Leave Debate?

So a statistic has been released this week to say that just 1% of dads took up shared parental leave in 2015 – however it has been reported that the statistics are not entirely accurate due to the information they could gather within the space of the year.

I think it is great that paternity leave is becoming more accessible today, as of course it should be.

However, is paternity leave all it is cracked up to be? Would you even want to share the care of your child between parents or is there a better way of using the time when you have a new baby?

I only took 6 months off work for my maternity leave. Hubby took 2 weeks annual leave as we couldn’t afford at that stage for him to take any paternity leave. It would have meant that both of our wages were reduced at the same time, which would have left it more stretched than it already was.

However, he then got another job and was put on gardening leave for 4 weeks just a couple of weeks after going back to work.

This was amazing, and helped me massively. It wasn’t the fact that I wanted him to look after our baby, I wanted us to be able to adapt as a new family. 2 weeks once little man was born just didn’t enable us to do that.

It doesn’t give you any time to get used to life as a 3, after being a duo for so long. That to me is more important than shared leave so that the mother can go back to work early.

I remember the day that he went back to work after his 2 weeks annual leave. I was holding a 2 week old baby and just remember thinking ‘What on earth do I do now?’

Without that stroke of luck and hubby having a fully paid month off, I am not sure how I would have coped on my own.

So paternity leave sounds great, and gives the mother the flexibility of going back to work early so that the father can help take care of the baby. However, being off together is personally much more valuable than being off at separate times – I am not talking a full 6 months off for both Mum and Dad, but more than a couple of weeks would be nice option.

It is just unfortunate how much of a financial strain it is for both to be taken at the same time.

So what happened with your maternity leave? How long did your partner take off to spend time as a new family?

Busy Working Mummy XOXO

A Cornish Mum
Mami 2 Five

12 thoughts on “The Parental Leave Debate?

  1. I had just one week with my other half, once he went back my sister stayed with me for a week. If he had had longer in the early days I am sure he would be more confident with him now. He is much better now but its taken 6 months really

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  2. Good post. For us my hubby took 2 weeks holiday as otherwise it would have been statutory paternity pay which we could afford. I think that’s probably the main problem with Dad’s taking advantage of it, a lot of women get enhanced maternity packages whereas I guess most men just get the basic. It nearly always comes down to money!

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  3. Statutory paternity pay is very low and doesn’t really facilitate parents at this critical time. I think there is a cultural issue in terms of uptake as well as many men feel it isn’t the done thing at work.

    In terms of Shared Parental Leave speaking as an Employment Law specialist, it so complicated and administratively heavy that employees and employers alike are struggling to understand it, let alone embrace it.

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  4. I would just love for new dads to be able to take the first six weeks off so families can adjust to being more than two or three or whatever. No matter how many children are in the household a baby is a big change. It’s one thing I worry about with my partner because I know I’ll need help should we have a baby as my daughter will be quite a bit older than her sibling and will still need to go to school, I worry how about how much I’ll be able to do with a new baby and a school age child especially if I end up with another c-section. I think those first six weeks are crucial to help mum recover and the family bond and adjust. #SundayStars

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  5. I was lucky to take 9 months. Since I went back part time my partner has ava the days Im at work along with my mum and dad. he is a golf coach so his hours vary. Its definitely tough being left on your own with a two week old I remember it well. Thanks for linking to #PicknMix

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  6. I can totally understand where you’re coming from here. I too remember that feeling of utter dread just kind of swallowed me up as my husband set foot out of the front door after those two weeks of hard work, but hard work together. As you say – it was time for the family to get to know each other. It would be lovely to have spend far longer together, but it’s a bit of a tough one i suppose. Almost a bit of a catch-22. But at least you were lucky in that you had an extra month to get to know your little one together. Thanks for Thanks for linking up with #SundayStars Steph xxx

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  7. Great post. I have always thought that shared maternity/ paternity leave is interesting. I know it works for some people and not for others. I guess it is good to have the option. But I think you are right it is better to have that time all together to get used to life as a new family. I too remember he moment that Mr H closed he door to go to work at the end of paternity leave. I was filled with fear and just wanted to beg him to stay. I always think that the worst thing is when all of those two weeks of paternity leave is used up when mother and baby are in hospital. Then there is no time to adapt to life as a family. And I don’t even know what happens when the baby is premature. It is such an interesting debate. Thanks for linking up such a fab post to #SundayStars. Hugs Lucy xxxx

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  8. Very interesting post. I’ve just started 5 months of paternity leave (a mix of shared parental leave and annual leave) and i’m blogging about ‘progress’. My wife and I are taking a ‘relay’ approach: she takes 3 months; I take 5 months; she takes 4 months (with those important few weeks of overlap you rightly note in you post). A few things have struck me about the design of SPL: mums have to surrender it; it’s really complicated to calculate how best for a couple to take it; and ultimately, companies’ parental leave pay policies (i.e. impact on household income) will shape if and how couple take advantage of it. This has meant for my wife and me, the decision of my wife to return to work relatively early (3 months) enabled SPL to be an option for us, but our respective employers’ parental leave pay policies determined the timing and length of each relay leg. We’ll see how it pans out in the coming 5 months with my daughter – I can’t wait!

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  9. I appreciate your emphasis on parental leave being about creating a healthy new family that can take the time to bond and adapt instead of the whole purpose being to get back to work quicker. Seriously, human priorities! I’m with you. Hopefully we’ve moved on from those 14-hour days of Victorian London workhouses. I hear humanity takes time for health and wellness because, you know, we need health and wellness, not because it makes us more usable workers (!!!)

    Yes, men need parental leave. As a real man-loving feminist I stand with my brothers in their push for greater respect for working fathers. We women have, for a long time, tirelessly pushed for our rights, yet men remain similarly disadvantaged. It doesn’t help that men are sometimes ridiculed when they attempt to ask for more rights pertaining to their maleness which do not infringe on femaleness. Men are due for a revolution of the mind and soul. It would do much for us, the women they love, as well as for male-kind’s own sense of peace, pride, stability and wellbeing. To the modern world’s credit, I think there may be a slow but steady movement [back?] in that direction. I very much like and trust the good men around me.

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