Dads demand more paternity leave

A survey of dads by Pregnant Then Screwed shows widespread support for an improved paternity leave offering.



One in four dads say that they have continued to work whilst on paternity leave, with half saying that there was an expectation from their employer that they would, even though this is illegal, according to a new survey.

The survey of over 7,000 dads from Pregnant Then Screwed also found that one in five dads who wanted to take longer paternity leave felt unable to because of the negative impact it would have on their career. Yet 80% say that they did not have enough time to bond with their child.

Eight in 10 dads say that their employer is not doing enough to support fathers in the workplace, with almost half (46%) saying that they have, or would consider switching roles to access better paternity leave and pay.

The survey also found that 80% of fathers are only offered two weeks paternity leave by their employer and 28% do not take the full two weeks. One in 10 Dads take no paternity leave at all, with more than half of those claiming that this is because they couldn’t afford to take it. The statutory weekly rate of paternity pay is £156.66, or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower). Almost a third of dads (32%) who took 10 days paternity leave or less say that they struggled financially as a result.

The TUC helped formulate the survey questions. General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “New dads shouldn’t have to spend any of their precious paternity leave working, or face financial hardship for taking time to bond with their new baby. It’s clear our current paternity system isn’t working. Without better rights to properly paid leave, many new parents will continue to miss out on spending important time with their children. All dads and partners need access to longer, better-paid paternity leave. Raising statutory paternity pay to at least the level of the real living wage would be a good start.”

The survey also asked about Shared Parental Leave [SPL]. It found that 16% of dads still don’t know what it is, with a quarter of those who are due to have a baby in the next six months saying they do not know about SPL. And only half of dads think their employer understands how SPL works. 14% of fathers who took shared parental leave said that they faced discrimination as a result of doing so.

Almost half (45%) of dads say they experienced a new mental health issue within the first two years of their child’s life, with seven in 10 saying longer paternity leave would have had a positive impact on their mental health. 97% say that they do not believe two weeks of paternity leave is long enough while 99% of respondents feel that the UK Government should improve its paternity leave offering.

Pregnant Then Screwed have launched a new campaign called ‘’Let’s Talk About Six’’ which is looking to equalise the parental leave system. Their campaign is supported by a petition which currently has over 97,500 signatures.

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