Daniel Hunter

Nearly half of working women would considering shared parental leave, according the Workingmums.co.uk annual survey.

Forty-four percent of those surveyed said they would consider sharing their parental leave with their partner ahead of new shared parental leave laws coming into effect next year.

Workingmums.co.uk said there had been a 3% rise in the number of mothers or mothers-to-be who would consider shared parental leave. It said this could be due to a higher number of women who are the primary earners in households. Seventeen percent of women said they're the main breadwinners in the house, with a small number saying it's due to their partner being made redundant.

The number of women who claim to split childcare and housework equally with their partners is just 21%, down from 27% last year. Some 17% say their partners work flexibly with 4% of partners working part time.

Many women said the economic situation was affecting how long they took for maternity leave. Some 46% had returned to work early due to the recession or cost of living. Some 10% only took between one and three months' maternity leave. The majority, however, took between seven and 12 months. Although 70% said they went back to work because they needed the money, 60% said they would work even if money was not an issue.

Gillian Nissim, founder of Workingmums.co.uk, said: “Our annual survey always throws up a wealth of information on the way women are working or would like to work and what the hurdles many face when attempting to reach their potential. It is interesting to note the appetite for shared parenting in the light of expectations that initial take-up will not be significant. This perhaps reflects a growing awareness among couples of the link between equality in the workplace and at home. It is vital that policy supports parents in having greater choice over how they balance work and family life.”

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