Only 2% of dads took additional paternity leave

Only 2% of the 209,000 fathers eligible for additional statutory paternity leave took it in the last year as fears over job security linger, according to a study by commercial law firm EMW.

Only 2% of the 209,000 fathers eligible for additional statutory paternity leave took it in the last year as fears over job security linger, according to a study by commercial law firm EMW.

EMW reveals that of the 209,000 fathers who took the two weeks of standard paternity leave only 4,000 took additional statutory paternity leave. Men are entitled to up to 26 weeks of additional paternity leave, but only if their partner returns to work before the end of their statutory maternity leave.

EMW points out that paternity pay is significantly lower than the UK average weekly wage, which makes it financially difficult for men to take time off from work. Both standard and additional paternity pay is £136.78, far below the minimum wage which is on average £221 a week for an adult over 21.

EMW says that the fragile state of the economic recovery is preventing fathers from taking additional paternity leave as they cannot afford the loss of pay. As well as that, many fathers are still worried about job security. With one in seven workers made redundant since the beginning of the recession many employees prefer not to be away from work longer than is necessary, it says.

Jon Taylor, Principal at EMW, says: "With only 2% of fathers taking advantage of additional paternity leave it is clear that the Government's initiative isn't working yet. The current level of paternity pay is below the minimum wage and a lot of fathers will struggle to absorb the drop in pay for two weeks let alone 26 weeks."

"The majority of employers in the UK are small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and are not in a position to supplement the basic additional paternity pay.

"Employees may be worried that in difficult economic times it is even more important to be visible at work and demonstrate their worth to the business. In those circumstances taking several weeks out of the workplace might not seem the best thing to do. This is why fathers are choosing job security over family."

He adds: "Unless their partner is earning significantly more than them there is a financial handicap for the father to take advantage of the extra leave and couples may feel that sharing leave will damage the career prospects of both parents and not just one."

"It is going to take some time before the culture changes and men take more paternity leave, but it is worth employers starting to plan ahead for when they potentially will."




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