When both of my children were born I took time off work (I was then working as a features editor on a regional daily newspaper) to care for them.
My husband continued to make the 40-minute commute to work, racing home to catch a bath time here, a bedtime story there.
It worked for us, although it wasn’t ideal. He missed out on so much having to suffice with sitting with me at the dinner table when he got home to hear about how our boy had taken his first steps, was now eating proper food, the day our daughter said her first word, the day she cut her own hair *ahem*!
On April 5 this year, a new law comes into effect which basically means fathers now have the chance to share that parental leave.
The new legislation looks set to revolutionise the way new parents share the childcare for their newborn babies.
According to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) seven in 10 dads regret missing key milestones in their child’s life due to work.
And nearly a third of fathers say they would have taken up the right to shared parental leave it it had been available to them at the time.
There is clearly a real appetite for flexibility in childcare arrangements.
Shared parental leave aims to relegate the “out-dated assumptions that women will always be the parents at home while fathers go out to work,” said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, when he announced the move last year.
“We know more men want to be more involved with their children at home and, crucially, we know the difference it makes to a child’s development when they do.”
So what does shared parental care actually mean?
From April 5, 2015 working parents will be able to split up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between them in the child’s first year of life (or the first year an adopted child is with it’s new family). This is after the initial two weeks of a child’s birth.
It is only available to parents who both work.
Parents have to give their employer eight weeks’ notice of their intention to take leave. For more information on the new legislation visit.
For much more information visit the government website Shared Parental Leave.
So what do you think? Is this going to see men take up the offer in their droves or is the reality not that cut and dried? If you’re breast feeding for example, it means endless hours of expressing to make sure there are enough bottles for dad to cope while you’re at work.
Personally I just like the fact that there is now a choice for families to make. Something we just didn’t have when mine were born.
Check out this video of families talking about the new legislation, what it means to them, how it can work and what they make of it all.
There are some VERY cute babies on there, you have been warned!
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.