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Christian charity wants 'change in mind-set' as just 1% of dads use shared parental leave.

The benefit allows women to return to the workplace quicker and gives men the chance to be more involved in their children's lives, but few couples have embraced it.

Research from My Family Care and the Women's Business Council reported half of men thought that taking parental leave would be perceived negatively at work, and over half of women said it would negatively impact their partner's career.

Caroline Bradly, from Christian Charity Care for the Family said: "I think for dads it's a change in mind-set to be involved in early years. It's wonderful for the family to encourage the dads to be involved all the way through the children's lives, but dads there's always that concern: will this impact my career."

But a change in mind-set wasn't the only issue partners faced; many couples surveyed said sharing parental leave wouldn't be affordable. Most said that a decision to share leave would depend on their finances and employers at the time.

Ms. Bradly said where possible, families should plan ahead and save before they have children to ensure both parents are involved and childcare is affordable.

"Mums can sometimes feel maybe dad won't do as good a job as me, or maybe I need to help dad to do it right. Instead of them realising they need to work together and that they are both important in their children's lives."

Despite the low numbers of men taking parental leave, change may be imminent. Over half of men with young children who are considering more, say they would take advantage of shared parental leave.

By Megan Howe

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