Making Room for Dad: Fathers’ lived experiences of shared parental leave

This study examines families’ experiences of shared parental leave.

We seek to contribute to debates surrounding fathers and their experiences of care and work, as well as family policy development.

father and son walking across a field

There are two strands to the project. The first (supported by BA/Leverhulme) involved conducting two in-depth interviews with 25 men who planned to take shared parental leave (SPL). Our findings are focused around a number of themes including men’s experiences of fatherhood and SPL and the key barriers to taking leave and practicing ‘involved’ fatherhood (including parenting and workplace cultures).

The second part of the project (supported by ESRC IAA) draws on issues we identified associated with knowledge and awareness of the scheme and the lack of role models available for men considering SPL. Working in partnership with Working Families and the Fatherhood Institute we developed a ‘video casebook’ consisting of a number of videos where parents discuss their lived experiences of SPL. These family-focused videos are accompanied by written case material and an additional set of videos exploring key topics such as barriers to taking leave and tips for both parents and employers. 

We are currently in the final stages of developing two surveys – one aimed at parents and the other aimed at employers - to further explore experiences and practices surrounding SPL and related family policies.

Project team members

  • Emma Banister
  • Ben Kerrane (Lancaster University Management School)
  • Working Families
  • The Fatherhood Institute

Further information