Six years on from the introduction of the UK’s flagship shared parental leave scheme, campaigners argue that the scheme has failed to advance gender equality and are calling for urgent reform. 


With take up rates amongst eligible couples at a notably low level, and inaccessibility for agency workers, the self-employed, or those on zeros hour contracts, organisations claim that the scheme warrants a complete overhaul, giving all working parents an independent and non-transferable tranche of paid leave, at an increased rate of pay, to encourage more parents to take advantage of it.


Comparisons are often drawn with other countries in Europe and to take one example, in Sweden each parent is given 240 days of paid leave (90 of which are non-transferable), at around 80% of their salary. The scheme is also available for up to eight years, whereas in the UK it is limited to the first year of the child’s life. 

With pressure mounting, and the possibility that the promised Employment Bill may finally come to fruition in 2021, it will be interesting to see whether shared parental leave is an area that the Government is willing to review.