Pushing for Fair Paternity Leave

A December 2009 survey of almost 500 mothers and fathers run by Dad.info and Netmums showed that 4 out of 10 fathers do not take paternity leave. 72 percent of those who did not take leave gave the reason that they could not afford to take it, while 14 percent said that they didn’t have enough length of service with their employer and 13 percent could not take paternity leave due to self employment. Many of the fathers who could not afford leave took holiday pay instead by taking one week as holiday and one week at paternity or by taking two weeks of annual leave because families could not afford the low pay.
The survey revealed some worrying attitudes from employers through responses such as: “My baby was four weeks early and it wasn’t ‘convenient’ with the company as there were lots of people on holiday”, and, “My husband’s company made it difficult for him to take the time off – he’s a manager and even though he was entitled to it, it’s a case of if he did take two weeks off, someone else would have basically replaced him”. Some companies offer fair paternity leave options for men, but a push is needed to ensure that all fathers have equal opportunities to support their partners, particularly with the arrival of a child.