To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish his Department's estimate of the take up of shared parental leave by fathers (a) on the latest figures available as (i) an absolute number and (ii) proportion of those fathers eligible and (b) for each quarter since the introduction of that policy as (i) an absolute number and (ii) a proportion of those eligible.
9 February 2021
Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Pay was introduced in December 2014 for the parents of children due or adopted from 5 April 2015. The scheme enables eligible working parents to share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay in the first year, where the mother does not intend to use her full maternity entitlements.
At the time of introduction, we estimated that c. 285,000 fathers or partners would be eligible for SPL a year and between 2 and 8 per cent of them would take up the entitlement. Information provided by employers to HMRC in respect of claims for Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) suggests that take up is broadly in line with our initial forecast. Table 1 below shows the number of individuals in receipt of ShPP per quarter.
Table 1: Individuals in receipt of Statutory Shared Parental Pay based on the total number of individuals in that quarter
Statutory Shared Parental Pay (total number of claimants in that quarter)
- Data collected uses HMRC Real Time Information (RTI) system and was extracted in December 2020. RTI is subject to revision or updates, and so there may be small fluctuations in figures reported, and these figures should not be considered “final”. This may especially be the case for the first two-quarters of 2020/21.
- Figures have been rounded to the nearest hundred.
- The table shows the number of individuals in receipt of ShPP per quarter, based on the total number of individuals in that quarter irrespective of when the payment first started. Quarterly figures should not be added together to make a yearly count of individuals in receipt of Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) due to double counting claimants from quarter to quarter.
- For the 2015-16 tax year, those receiving Additional Statutory Paternity Pay (ASPP) for children born before 6 April 2015 cannot be distinguished from those claiming Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) within RTI data.
- Data for individuals in receipt of Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) includes both mothers and fathers in receipt of ShPP, however fathers, on average, make up over three-quarters of all ShPP recipients.
- This data represents individuals in receipt of Shared Parental Pay only, so those who take unpaid Shared Parental Leave are not included.
Eligible parents can also take unpaid SPL so information relating to claims of ShPP only gives a partial picture of take up. We are currently evaluating the Shared Parental Leave and Pay scheme, which includes large scale, representative surveys of employers and parents, and a qualitative study. We are currently analysing the data from the research that we commissioned and will report on the evaluation of the scheme later this year.
We do not hold estimates of the number of fathers eligible for SPL by quarter, however in 2013 we estimated that c. 285,000 fathers or partners would be eligible for SPL a year. We will update and publish an estimate of the number of parents who are eligible for SPL and an updated estimation of take-up rates for the scheme when we report on the evaluation.
 Impact Assessment of Shared Parental Leave and Pay, BIS 2013 https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukia/2013/256/pdfs/ukia_20130256_en.pdf
 See footnote 1