Just 2% of businesses in the UK have seen a 'significant' uptake of Shared Parental Leave since it was brought in in April, according to new research.

The study, by My Family Care and law firm Hogan Lovells, found that showed that despite the apparent slow uptake, nearly 40% of businesses have received interest about taking Shared Parental Leave in the future.

Sixty per cent of HR directors said they had received 'none - very few' requests. The biggest barrier to change was identified as the cultural perception that an extended period of time off for a father would be frowned upon or career limiting, with 41% saying it was the biggest problem.

Ben Black, director at My Family Care said: “These results reveal just how effective Shared Parental Leave has been so far and answers the question — has it been the cultural change that people were all clamouring for. The answer is not yet but the future looks very bright with many companies enhancing their paternity leave in line with their maternity benefits and 38% of HRs seeing momentum building already.

“However, if we are going to reach true gender equality in the workplace, it is fathers in leadership positions that need to be open about balancing their work and family and aren’t afraid to break the mould of their predecessors. The most important revelation to come out of the debate was the need for visible role models; to position fathers who are taking SPL at the moment as a shining example to inspire others and help remove the taboo associated with taking time off to care for your new child.”