The Government’s policy of allowing couples to share their parental leave reached its one year anniversary today, yet a recent study revealed that only 1 per cent of men have taken advantage of the opportunity since the policy was introduced.

The Shared Parental Leave (SPL) policy was initially launched to split work leave between both male and female parties, as opposed to the traditional method of allocating mothers the bulk of the time off.

The Government launched the policy in a bid to get women back into the workplace faster following childbirth and give men the opportunity to care full time for their children, but research from My Family Care and the Women’s Business council has revealed that the introduction of the policy has had little impact on UK parental trends.

A survey of 1,000 parents and 200 businesses found that lack of awareness, financial considerations and an unwillingness by women to share their maternity leave ranked amongst the main three reasons for the limited uptake.

My Family Care and the Women’s Business Council found that 55 per cent of women did not want to share their leave with their partner.

Studies also showed that just 1 per cent of fathers had chosen to opt for Shared Parental Leave over the traditional two weeks of Paternity Leave since the introduction of the new laws. 50 per cent also claimed that they felt taking more time off would be perceived negatively at their workplace.

However, the research indicated that things could be looking up – as 63 per cent of fathers said they would definitely make use of SPL if they were to have another child.