A FAMILY from Callands are encouraging more new mums to share their maternity leave with their partners.

Although unknown to many, new parents are able to share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay following the birth of their child, providing certain criteria is met.

This is something which appealed to speech and language therapist Rebecca Oxtoby and her husband Daniel, 30, after the birth of their daughter, Isabelle.

After hearing about shared maternity leave through word of mouth and giving it a go, the pair say that it is something that they would ‘absolutely’ recommend, as it allowed a ‘beautiful bond’ to develop between them both and their daughter.

“We both work in the public sector and had heard that people were able to share parental leave, though nobody we knew had done it before,” said 29-year-old Rebecca, who is also the author of ‘Mum's the Word: The S**t Nobody Tells You About Parenthood’.

“I suggested to Daniel that we give it a go as I was conscious that he wanted to be a 'hands-on dad', so I wanted to see how we could facilitate him being home for longer than the typical three weeks paternity leave and annual leave allowances.

“He was a little reluctant at first, only because he didn't know whether his work would allow it and because our experience was that nobody had even asked to do this before.

Warrington Guardian:

“But with a lot of digging and a lot of pushing, we were finally able to figure it out.”

Rebecca approached her HR department at work to set things in motion, but they were unsure of the process as shared parental leave was never something they had dealt with before.

In the end, Rebecca was allocated 12 months of maternity leave and decided to give one month of it to her husband.

“Daniel combined that month with his annual leave, and this worked out as one week in every six off together, which we were able to spend with the baby,” she continued.

“Having more time off has allowed him to form a better bond with his daughter. She is such a Daddy's girl, and it is beautiful to see.

“I'm really passionate about bringing Isabelle up in a household where she knows that Mama can be the one who goes to work and earns the most money and Daddy can spend time wiping bums and making tea. Let's break the stereotypes.

“Our friends and family were all jealous and wished that they had done it when they had children.”

According to a new survey by financial services company Legal and General, 62 per cent of dads would like to use shared parental leave laws to split their time off more evenly with mums, however 42 per cent of mums are opposed to using the new laws.