44% of working mums would consider shared parental leave

Working Mother

More than two-fifths (44%) of working mums would consider sharing their maternity leave with their partner once shared parental leave comes into effect in 2015, according to research by Workingmums.co.uk

Its annual survey, which questioned 2,390 working mums, found that this number has risen by 3% since 2013.

The research also found that the economic situation is affecting how long working mums take maternity leave. Some 46% of respondents had returned to work early due to the recession or cost of living and 10% only took between one and three months of maternity leave.

Most respondents (76%) got the flexible working arrangements they requested after giving birth, but 24% did not, with 11% feeling their employer did not consider their request at all.

Nearly a third (32%) of respondents cite homeworking as their preferred type of flexible working.

Only 14% of respondents were on a zero hours contract or variable shifts. Of these 54% prefer it as it offers flexibility, but 17% of respondents find it difficult to arrange the childcare they need.

The research found that 41% of respondents spent nothing on childcare, an increase of 11% in 2013, while 20% pay more than £500.

Using grandparents is the most common form of childcare, with more than half (56%) doing so to reduce their childcare costs.

A further 18% use tax credits, 25% have childcare vouchers, 23% use friends, 8% get older siblings to help and 18% get help from other relatives.

The research also found:

  • 21% of respondents split childcare and housework equally with their partners.
  • 56% of respondents earn less pro-rata than they did before having children.
  • 53% of respondents said flexible working would aid them in career development.

Gillian Nissim, founder of Workingmums.co.uk, said: “Our annual survey always throws up a wealth of information on the way women are working or would like to work and what the hurdles many face when attempting to reach their potential.

“It is interesting to note the appetite for shared parenting in the light of expectations that initial take-up will not be significant.

“This perhaps reflects a growing awareness among couples of the link between equality in the workplace and at home. It is vital that policy supports parents in having greater choice over how they balance work and family life.”