“Michael was born in an Uber,” Dr Richard Allmendinger laughs. “It’s not exactly a normal start in life”.
While he can smile about it now, Dr Allmendinger wouldn’t have chosen such an unusual entrance into the world for his second born.
His subsequent choice is almost as unusual as Michael’s arrival. Dr Allmendinger, who works at The University of Manchester, is one of only a few fathers to have decided to take time off work to spend with their child. According to government estimates, only 2% of fathers have taken shared parental leave since its introduction in 2015.
For Dr Allmendinger, the decision was an easy one. “Three months fully paid to spend with my family – why would you not take that? It was a no-brainer to take the time off to support my wife.” Yet most fathers still don’t take time off to care for their children. Why is this?
And what of Dr Allmendinger: would he take shared parental leave again? “Yes, of course,” he replies, without hesitation. “It’s benefited me, my wife and both our sons.”