'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 178.

    And how is a small or medium sized company supposed to cope ? Kids grew fine & OK before all this nonsense, and if anything far better than some of the spoiled, pampered little brats with their over protective parents that are littering the country today ! Kids are a life style choice, fathers should use there annual leave, and not expect the state to fund kids even more than they do already !!

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    NEWSFLASH ?????
    Sorry,whats to discuss?
    Every working man,and to be fair,working and non-working mother predicted this outcome from the word "leave"!
    Can Gov be so disconnected,sorry rhetorical ?,again!

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    Maybe the obvious reason is why so few men decide to not take paternity leave.

    They just don't want to.

    They just don't find the idea appealing.

    Sometime the answer is simple.

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    In the real world men can't afford to live off £138pw and most small companies cannot afford to lose staff for 6 monrhs or pay temporary staff via an agency to fill the gap.
    I don't understand why it is the state or a company's place to subsidise a family. It is this kind ott policy that damages this country's competitiveness.

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    Three jobs (undoubtedly not full-time)... with the state of today's bloated population many people would bite your arm off for just one.

    The fact of the matter is we have different issues today than existed forty years ago. Paternity leave doesn't "discriminate against the elderly" who didn't have it in the past; they had plenty of things far easier than we do today, especially cost of living.

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    In some parts of Britain today the take up is probably low because the mother can't be sure who the father is to claim!

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    At least many are being honest in stating that they would much rather be at work than home caring for kids. But beware. My wife, soul mate and primary carer to our 18mo died suddenly in Feb. I did work F/T but also made sure to involve myself in childcare when I could to give her a break. It was invaluable preparation for becoming a widowed single Dad. There but for the grace of God go all of you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    This shouldn't come as any surprise.

    If two parents were to reduce income to a statutory pay level their monthly income would be less than the official poverty line set by our own government.

    This is a fantastic idea however there has been no quality thinking done to make it affordable to the general masses hence the low take up.

    Swing and a miss me thinks!

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.

    As usual, other countries get it right and we make a dog's breakfast of it. Although I sympathise with small companies (as I run one myself), it is the right thing for a civilised society to incorporate into employment rights. Besides the pay is from the state and not the employer.

    How, about we tax greedy people form large corporates and put this money into helping smaller business.

  • rate this

    Comment number 169.

    I would have been happy sharing maternity (in our case adoption leave) with my wife. We saved as hard as we could in order to afford my wife enough time off to stay at home until both our kids started school but I only had a week paid adoption leave from my employer (the Government). In some ways its good to establish your normal routine as soon as possible but the choice would have been nice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 168.

    This entire thread depresses the hell out of me. So many people brainwashed into the Tory mindset that 'loyalty' to the same employers who avoid tax and treat workers like serfs is of far greater importance than family life. Instead of trying to 'compete' with Asian slave labour economies etc we should be looking to Scandinavia, Germany etc, which successfully balance productivity and people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 167.

    It would be nice if new fathers could take time out to bring up their newborn child, unfortunately it doesn't work like that. Some new mothers can be Ill after having a baby, we don't all find child birth easy and mothers do need time to heal, both emotionally and physically. New borns turn everything upside down, and the lack of money will cause more problems than any help Dad can do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 166.

    159 - Why divorce after 12 weeks?

  • Comment number 165.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 164.

    I think the real issue is why in a family both parents have to work full time in order to pay the bills and put food on the table?!

    People refuse to acknowledge that the main reason why kids misbehave is due to lack of parenting. Shouldnt we go back to having one parent not working in order to raise the kids, instead of gangs?! Doesnt have to be the woman, househusband numbers are growing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 163.

    This is simply impractical in terms of cost to smaller companies. Politicians forget that we can barely afford maternity leave and all its rules and regulations let alone paternity leave too. Why should employers have to foot the bill because an employee wants kids? Sorry to sound heartless but I have been through it as an employer and everyone has bend over backwards for these people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 162.


    Paternity leave isn't for real people. It's to appease the hairy-arsed feminists, allow politicians to fool the liberal minded that they share their concerns and give the rich a reason to take 6 months off if they fancy.

    It's a total waste of time and money yet ironically its hard-working people that can't afford paternity leave that have to fund it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 161.

    Ask any self employed or those who run their own business if they will give themselves 26 weeks off.

    I don't think any will have a business to go back to, unless able to run it from home.

  • Comment number 160.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 159.

    Monthly's, Mortgage £800, Gas/Elec £130, Car Insurance £60, Loans £200, House Insurance £30, Life insurance £30, TV license £12.12, Water £40
    £1302 without things for the baby, food for 3 or fuel for the car

    £136 x 4 = £544 which will equal DIVORCE after 12 weeks....


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