'Barriers' stop fathers taking paternity leave - report

Five-day-old baby girl Few fathers take more than than two weeks statutory paternity leave

Related Stories

A lack of support from employers is preventing many men from taking paternity leave, a report has found.

A survey of employees and managers found that a quarter of new fathers took no paternity leave at all.

Fewer than one in 10 took more than their two weeks statutory leave.

The research by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) blamed "ingrained" attitudes among employers, and concerns among new fathers that they could not afford to take leave.

Last year the government announced plans to allow parents to share their maternity and paternity leave - changes are scheduled to come in April 2015.

But the ILM said its research suggested the changes would have little impact if attitudes of employers were not addressed as well.

"The introduction of shared parental leave is a crucial step towards enabling more women to progress into senior roles," said Charles Elvin, ILM chief executive.

Start Quote

Many dads simply can't afford to take time off, particularly as employers rarely top up their statutory pay”

End Quote Frances O'Grady TUC director general

"Yet our research revealed cultural barriers are impeding the uptake of both two weeks statutory paternity leave and additional paternity leave."

Pay worries

He said there remained a "cultural expectation" within organisations that women rather than men will be the ones taking extended periods away from the workplace.

The report also said low levels of paternity pay discouraged new fathers, with just 9% surveyed receiving more than two weeks on full pay.

Responding to the report, Frances O'Grady, secretary general of the TUC, the trade union body, said pay was the major concern.

"Many dads simply can't afford to take time off, particularly as employers rarely top up their statutory pay."

Currently, employed fathers are entitled to either one or two weeks' paid paternity leave, though additional leave is also given if the mother returns to work and is not claiming statutory maternity pay.

Government plans involve extending this flexibility, allowing parents of newborns to exchange and share their leave.

"We want the introduction of shared parental leave to drive a real cultural shift and help working dads play a greater role in their child's early months," a government spokesperson said.

"Employers too can gain from a system which allows them to keep talented women in the workforce and have more motivated and productive staff."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories

RSS

Features

  • Ernest Hemingway, as war correspondent, travelling with US soldiers to Normandy for the D-Day landingsAbandoned hero

    Why Paris is forgetting Ernest Hemingway


  • Women doing ice bucket challengeChill factor

    How much has the Ice Bucket Challenge achieved?


  • Members of staff at James Stevenson Flags hold a Union Jack and Saltire flag UK minus Scotland

    Does the rest of the UK care if the Scots become independent?


  • Women in front of Windows XP posterUpgrade angst

    Readers share their experiences of replacing their operating system


From BBC Capital

Programmes

  • Art installationClick Watch

    How one artist is using computer code to turn internet radio into a unique piece of music

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.