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Home Publication Improving uptake of shared parental leave: Guidance for UK higher education institutions and colleges in Scotland

Improving uptake of shared parental leave: Guidance for UK higher education institutions and colleges in Scotland

Published: 19/03/2018

This guidance is the first in a series looking at issues that were common areas of challenge for many departments and institutions in recent submissions to the Athena SWAN Charter.

Shared parental leave regulations came into force in the UK in 2015. The purpose of shared parental leave is to provide parents with more flexibility in how they manage the care of their child during the first year after birth or adoption. Shared parental leave recognises the role partners of mothers and adopters play in childrearing, giving it the potential to advance equality of opportunity between people of different sexes and sexual orientations as part of a wider, longer-term cultural shift that supports non-traditional families. However, uptake of shared parental leave has been low in the two years since its introduction.

This guidance provides information about how shared parental leave is working, including recent developments in case law and the current state of implementation and uptake, and recommends a range of actions that universities and colleges can take to promote shared parental leave. It also provides examples of good practice currently taking place.

The guidance may be of particular use to institutions and departments involved with ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter. This is because institutions and departments applying for Athena SWAN awards are asked to provide information on their shared parental leave policies as well as uptake of shared parental leave. More information can be found in the Athena SWAN handbook.

The focus of the guidance is staff, but some of the recommendations may also be applicable to support for postgraduate research students.

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