A survey has found that the majority of those living in the UK believe that childcare should be shared equally between parents.

The results following the announcement of shared parental leave in the UK, with 53% of those surveyed believing that there was an duty of care on each parent and that childcare time should be split equally.

More than half of all male voters believed that it was important to divide the time equally in regards to childcare, with 50% of women also agreeing.

22% of those who responded to the survey stated that they believed it was up to individual couples to decide how their child was cared for, and they should have the right to divide the responsibilities based on their responsibilities.

The survey highlighted the changing attitudes of the British public, with just under 25% of those surveyed believing that the care of a child should lie with the mother.

Shared Parental Leave

From April 5th shared parental leave will apply in the UK meaning that parents will be able to split 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of paid leave between them in the first year of the child’s life. The move, which was brought in by the UK government, aims to aid parents, employers and create confidence for new parents when bringing up children.

Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson said:“This survey shows people are rejecting dated stereotypes about the roles of men and women. Parenting is a shared endeavour and couples want more flexibility when they are adapting to the demands of a new baby.

“Shared Parental Leave will let couples choose how to share their childcare responsibilities in whatever way works best for them, and enable both parents to spend time developing that vital bond with their baby in the early stages.”

Flexible Pattern

Parental leave can be taken in blocks or employers can agree to a flexible pattern of leave to aid new parents. 75% of fathers surveyed stated that they would have taken more or shared parental leave if it was available at the time.

The Opinion Matters survey of over 2,000 people, showed that 80% of those asked would consider taking shared parental leave when they became parents. 6 in 10 males believed that as a result of shared parental leave it would help them create a stronger bond with their child, with 44% stating that the shared parental leave created a fairer system.

A third of those surveyed believed that sharing responsibility would improve their relationship with their partner with 57% of males believing that it would help create a better family dynamic.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “This Edwardian notion that women should stay at home while men go out and support the family has simply no place in this day and age.

“We know that mums and dads want more flexibility and choice when it comes to juggling their home and work lives.

“That’s why we’ve introduced Shared Parental Leave so that parents can make their own decisions about how to raise their family, whether it’s giving women the choice to go back to work earlier or men the opportunity to spend more time with their children.”

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