Paternity leave for fathers: Survey paints bleak picture

Paternity leave for fathers: Survey paints bleak picture

A survey conducted by Pregnant Then Screwed has revealed just how frustrated fathers are at a perceived lack of paternity leave for fathers and support from their employers. Over 7,000 dads took part in the survey which secured some remarkable data. Before we get to that data, let’s look at the backdrop against which the survey was conducted.

Fathers in the UK, who have been in their job for 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before their baby is due, have a right to two consecutive weeks’ paternity leave for fathers. During this period of leave, they have a right to Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP). SPP is either £156.66 a week or 90% of weekly earnings, whichever is lower. Employers can, at their discretion, be more generous and most are when it comes to pay, with 67% of employers in the UK offering enhanced paternity pay and paternity support. However only 21% of UK employers offer more than 2 weeks’ leave.

It’s little surprise then that 80% of the fathers surveyed said they did not have enough time to bond with their child and 97% of them said that 2 weeks is generally an insufficient amount of time off following the birth of their baby.

One route around the lack of time off is the Shared Parental Leave scheme whereby the mother and father share the 52 week leave entitlement. However, a quarter of the dads surveyed were not aware of the entitlement and nationally only 2-8% of eligible couples use the scheme.

Some other interesting takeaways from the survey are as follows:

  • 10% of dads take no paternity leave at all
  • 17% of dads who took no paternity leave said they did so because they were worried about the reaction at work for taking it
  • 26% of dads worked during their paternity leave
  • 45% of dads experienced a new mental health issue within the first 2 years of the child’s life
  • 70% of dads say more paternity leave for fathers would have had a positive impact on their mental health

Off the back of the survey, Pregnant Then Screwed are launching a new campaign called ‘Let’s Talk About Six’ which is aimed at equalising the parental leave system in the UK (which is the least generous in Europe) so that both parents get a minimum of 6 weeks’ paid leave at 90% of their salary.

This blog was written by Jack Dooley, Trainee Solicitor at didlaw.