'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 238.

    236. Walshingham

    ... And if they follow procedure knowing how many sick days they are allowed off, that any disciplinary is null and void after a year, we just go round and round. It would harm the company more to force them to leave.

    Personal prejudice? The godfather/mother to my child are gay/lesbian. I am from a minority race while my partner is white.

    You should visit the modern world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    It's because most can not wait to get back to work, wham bam thank-you mam, modern culture speaks volumes.

  • Comment number 236.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    234. Walshingham

    Nope. That's employment laws. It's discriminatory to highlight female, gay/lesbian, person from a minority race. Who calls in sick only on weekends due to psychiatric problems.

  • Comment number 234.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    228 + 231

    I have committed staff whom I would gladly give maternity/paternity leave. I also have uncommitted staff who I loathe to give 1 day of leave. We have a name, not a number. We are all individual with individual lives.

  • rate this

    Comment number 232.

    231.If a business is so naive as not to have any contingency plans...

    I don't know the whole story but understand the firm was unable to cope with two members of staff (half its workforce) being away at the same time.

  • Comment number 231.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 230.

    My wife stopped work when we had children. I also had a married person's tax allowance. We had three kids, and my wife went back to work as a nurse when the kids were in secondary school as we needed the money. When I look at my children, all of whom have university degrees, only one owns his own home, and he does not live in the UK. How times have changed - for the better? I don't think so!

  • rate this

    Comment number 229.

    226. "Victim mindset"?

    Fortunately I earn enough to support my child & my partner. My employees on the other hand would struggle. Having risen up the ladder, it doesn't mean that should forget my blue collar roots.

  • rate this

    Comment number 228.

    My God, your job would be gone if you were away for 26 weeks these days. The management would see it as a lack of committment and you would be on your bike.

  • rate this

    Comment number 227.

    I'm aware of a local business of employer and three employees that was coping but has now had to cease trading as two employees went on maternity leave.

    It simply couldn't afford to train & employ additional staff to cover the shortfall in production.

    It was apparent (but not stated) that neither person were actually going to stay after their leave finished.

    Sadly everyone lost out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 226.

    224. "If people decide to have kids they should think about consequences and not expect those who decide not to bear their burden"

    Too right! I didn't ask for old people to live past employment age. They shouldn't be a burden to us. Nor did I ask soldiers to fight our wars, let those invalids earn their bread.


  • Comment number 225.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 224.

    Why on earth would anyone have children?

    It's bonkers to expect employers to pay for employees to sit around at home with their 'feet up'. If people decide to have kids they should think about consequences and not expect those who decide not to bear their burden.

  • rate this

    Comment number 223.

    Its' disgusting! Having children is a CHOICE, not an obligation. My CHOICE is not to have them; what leave and benefits do I GET eh? NOTHING! that's what. The UK is the only place in the world where one gets paid to have kids at someone else's expense!!!! More Left wing lunacy

  • rate this

    Comment number 222.

    Spending quality time with your kids, especially new borns, is MUCH MORE IMPORTANT than affording spare rooms, big cars, sky subscriptions et al.....

    ....you do not need to work the hours you do, you choose to work them & be away from your kids.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 221.


    Women have been treated better that men, certainly for the last 100 years. Take the years 1914-18 or 39-45, who do you think got the best end of the deal men or women? Women in fact ridiculed conciousness objectors and made their lives misery. Feminists were in fact complaining about changes making them retire at the same age as men, even though they live longer!

  • rate this

    Comment number 220.

    These people clearly don't live in the real world. Maybe they don't do anything productive, in which case their absence won't be missed during the 26 weeks.

    For the vast majority of workers, a 26 week leave would be suicidal - either you're shown to be insignificant, thus your job is not their on your return. Or somebody has taken your role and you've dropped down the ladder.

  • rate this

    Comment number 219.

    174 Miraglyth
    When today's pensioners were producing children, not only did they not have paternity leave, they didn't have maternity leave either. If you were pregnant you were expected to leave work and try to get another job either after the child was born - if you were lucky enough to have somewhere to put it - or when it went to school.


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