New shared parenting laws make "good economic sense"

Professor Lynda Gratton says that families will benefit both emotionally and financially from the new UK laws as they’re able to ‘diversify their investments’


British families that take advantage of the UK’s new shared parenting rules will benefit financially, according to London Business School’s Lynda Gratton. 

Professor Gratton says she’s ‘very much in favour’ of shared parenting laws – which came into force in the UK on 5 April, meaning parents can now opt to  share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay, after the mother has taken a compulsory two weeks of leave. 

The leave can be taken in full or in instalments with working periods in between, and is dependent on approval from employers. 

Professor Gratton says that the benefits are broad, both emotionally, in terms of how new parents bond with their child, and in terms of their finances.

“One of the real challenges for organisations in general is that women still do most of the domestic labour,” Professor Gratton says. 

“What we know is that when men spend proper time with their babies, they’re more likely to bond with them and more likely to want to spend time with them, so shared parental leave is a very good idea.”

Explaining why the scheme means parents can make wise financial decisions around their family life, she adds: “What I see with the young dual career families I watch is that very often the man is really looking after the children just as much as the woman. 

“That makes total sense to me because the traditional model is that the family invests everything in the male as the breadwinner. Let’s say he earns £50,000. Then let’s say you invest in the male and the female, then they can earn £25,000 each and still have the same income of £50,000 – you’re diversifying your investment and that’s a very wise thing to do. 

“It’s very wise for both people to work – it just spreads your risks, so it makes a lot of sense from an economic perspective for men and women to work. To do that, society and organisational culture has to be more responsive to men playing parental roles.”