Research from online children's clothing retailer Vertbaudet has revealed that UK parents of children under 16 are very much in the dark when it comes to their rights to maternity, paternity and shared parental leave.

The YouGov survey, which surveyed 853 parents of children under the age of 16, found that over half of parents (56%) had not heard of shared parental leave or did not understand what was available to them.

The research also revealed that many parents are returning to work before taking their full entitlement of leave.

Almost two-thirds (63%) of fathers of children under 16 took less than four weeks paternity leave when their youngest child was born or adopted, compared to just 2% of women. The research also found that 26% of parents took no parental leave when their youngest was born or adopted.

Almost a quarter (22%) of respondents who took parental leave returned to full or part-time work before having taken the full amount of paternal leave entitled to them. Of these respondents, monetary issues was the most popular reason why parents returned to work early, with 57% claiming they could not afford to take the full amount of parental leave they were entitled to and 29% returned to work early to regain financial stability.

The top pressures for returning to work before taking their full entitlement were:

Not being able to afford to take the full amount (57%)

To regain financial stability (29%)

To become a working parent (9%)

For the challenge of being a working parent (8%)

To feel independent and continue to develop their career (5%)

Pressure from the workplace may also play a part in many mothers and fathers returning to work early, with 51% of those surveyed saying they think there is a lot of pressure from companies for parents to take less maternity and paternity leave than they were entitled to. 44% of those surveyed spent nothing on childcare during the first three years of their youngest child's life. 60% of working parents of children under 16 would not know how many weeks of parental leave they would be entitled to if they were to have a child now.

Stacey Priestley, Ecommerce Manager at Vertbaudet, said "Shared parental leave is designed to give mothers and fathers more flexibility in sharing the care of their child during some of the most important years of their lives. Each family is completely different when it comes to taking care of their little ones, but it is important that everyone is aware of their right to parental leave."

Parents are returning to work before taking their full entitlement of leave

Parents are returning to work before taking their full entitlement of leave


by for www.malextra.com