Saturday, 9 April 2016

AIPL: When numbers lie

I shouldn't let this week go by without noting the supremely dodgy statistic, as reported by ITV, Sky, the Guardian, the Independent, the Telegraph etc. that only 1% of men are taking shared parental leave in the first year since its introduction. Cue much speculation over why the figure is so low.

As many others have pointed out, however, this figure, from a survey by My Family Care, is a percentage of all male employees and not, say, those who have actually had a baby and are therefore eligible for shared parental leave. (See More or Less for a dramatic reconstruction of the survey).

The takeup of SPL might yet turn out to be disappointing, as any idiot could predict, but these reports prove nothing other than the inability of journalists to get their facts straight. Worse than that, it sends out a misleading signal that sharing leave is the preserve of a tiny minority which could well cause less people to take it up in future. Perhaps not the best way to celebrate the anniversary.