'Few fathers' take extra paternity leave - TUC report

Father and baby Men cannot afford to take additional paternity leave, the TUC said

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Less than 1% of fathers take advantage of additional paternity leave up to a total of 26 weeks, figures suggest.

The TUC study for 2011/12 found 1,650 out of 285,000 partners took the leave at the statutory rate of £136 a week.

The trade union organisation said this was because they could not afford to live on such a rate, which is not normally supplemented by employers.

The Department for Business said a new system of shared parental leave would be introduced from 2015.

The system which allows the father, or husband or partner of a child's mother, to take up to 26 weeks additional paternity leave - and receive additional statutory paternity pay - was only introduced in April 2011 and the TUC figures are based on its first year.

Fathers and partners had already been entitled to two weeks ordinary paternity leave.

They can only claim the extra weeks in their child's first year if the mother returns to work before taking her full maternity leave entitlement. The additional paternity leave can also be taken when adopting a child.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "A good gift for fathers this Sunday would be for ministers to increase statutory paternity pay rates and for employers to top it up for longer, so that new dads can spend more time with their children.

"Poor levels of financial support are preventing new dads from taking extra time off and are particularly affecting low-paid fathers who simply cannot afford to take leave.

"Extending paternity pay from two to six weeks and paying a better statutory rate would make a massive difference, as has been shown in other countries."

'Better involved'

The TUC said in contrast, the first two weeks of paternity leave was taken by nine out of 10 fathers. But the difference is that although the statutory rate is the same - £136 a week - many employers typically choose to top this up to full pay throughout that short period of leave.

A spokesman for the Department for Business Innovation and Skills said: "The current system for parental leave is old-fashioned and too rigid.

"This is why we are introducing a system of shared parental leave from April 2015 so that fathers can take more leave if they want to in the early days of a child's life.

"We want to challenge the myth that it is the mother's role to stay at home and care for children.

"Men will be more able to get better involved with the caring of their children from the earliest stages and evidence shows this sort of involvement has significant benefits for children's educational and emotional development in later life."

A separate report by NatCen Social Research and the University of East Anglia has found that men with a partner and children at home work longer hours than other working men.

Three in 10 men in this family situation worked 48 hours a week and one in 10 worked more than 60 hours.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    Quote from civil servant - "We want to challenge the myth that it is the mother's role to stay at home and care for children"

    You might as well "challenge the myth" that it is a women's "role" to give birth and breastfeed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    There never was great demand from men for paternity leave. All the pressure came from women's groups, social engineers in the 3 main political parties and university sociologists.The negligible take amongst most men is not really surprising since they never asked for it. Bit like having to be present at births...that is no longer as fashionable as it was.

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    To me the solution is simple. woman get maturnity men don't. There is more than enough time in the day after working to get home and spend time with your child. I agree that men should get some time. but only 2 weeks at the most. and more should be granted when if the baby is ill and needs parental support. and those people moaning about the time off. tough deal with it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    In the 'natural world' a child would be raised by whosoever couldn't work at the time as it took two adults to put food on the table & keep a shelter intact. Why should it be assumed that a child suffers from what we are adapted for? As long as the chid knows it is valued & has contact with its parents it will be fine.

    Before anyone quotes Bowlby et al at me, it was poor science & proves nothing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    during the benefits cull - all i ever read here: "if they can't afford them, they shouldn't have them" "why do we have to pay for them!"

    now those same people are putting their hands out asking for money to pay for their children.


  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    As one of the millions of self-employed or people with their own companies, I could never have taken paternity leave. I don't think that this in any way affected my bonding with my children nor my being a good father to them. The TUC simply lives on another planet of political correctness.

  • Comment number 112.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    In the present climate, with the possibility of layoffs often at the back of one's mind, it is not just the salary cut of SPP that helps make the decision, it is the niggling feeling that if the boss can get by without you for several months, he can get by without you forever.

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    Ludicrous! In the early part, baby sleeps, feeds, sleeps, deposits & sleeps again. Okay, dad has his part to play, but for the most part he's a spare wotsit! As for 'bonding,' after 26 weeks of being there, dad suddenly disappears throughout the week. That's really constructive! Surely all that's needed is for the absent parent to be accessible, but I suppose that's too complicated to apply.

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    53. Maybe a change of partner would be better......

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    If any of my male employees took 26 weeks paternity leave I'd have doubts about their work ethic, commitment to the business and promotional potential. Join the real world of work & competition....I've never even taken my full holiday entitlement. Far too busy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    are the rates of paternity / maternity pay the same for fathers and mothers?

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    The leave is taken when the mother returns to work during the first year. New mums are encouraged to breast feed and many do so up to and beyond the first twelve months of a baby's life.
    Easier to have babies when one lives in social housing. The new mum can stay at home whether her partner works or not. Let the other fools turn themselves inside out to pay for lives lived on easy street.

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    A full timer carer looking after a family member or friend receives the sum of £59.75p per week. Time more money was spent on carers who work 24/7. There are more important things to spend our money on than bonding sessions between fathers and theie children.

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    @GrandPoohBah "We cannot afford to be off for that long whilst our wives/girlfriends are off as well" You can't - you take her maternity leave entitlement while she is back at work.
    Also, it's not that long since fathers weren't even entitled to a day off to attend the birth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    To be honest I'd love a job that paid £136 per week in the first place

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    Interesting to note that fathers couldn't afford to live on £136 a week,so how am i expected to live on £71.50 a week ??

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    At least there is a provision for paid paternity leave. When my daughter was born in the 90's paternity leave was unheard of. I was lucky enough that I was able to have a year off but it was at a financial cost as I had to give up work when my wife went back.

    The amount on offer today meant that I would have been able to take the time off and get something for it as well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    9 The Ace Face

    Give men a year's leave on full pay and I suspect a few more might take paternity leave.

    You must be a Public Servant!

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    The differences between men and women are biologic hence mothers are mothers and fathers are fathers with inbuilt differences. Example: if today was reversed and I sat on my computer on Mothers Day commenting on HYS I would never hear the end of it:-))


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