Survey shows demand for more paternity leave

dads smiling at baby


Almost 90% of new parents think dads should get more paternity leave, according to a new survey.

The survey of mums and dads by, also found one in three new mothers have felt pressured to return to work because they’re needed at work or they’re unsure statutory maternity pay will stretch.

It is based on a survey of 2,434 British parents aged 18 and over, all of whom stated they have had a child within the past twelve months. Of those polled, 1,320 were new fathers and 1,314 were new mothers.

Initially all female respondents were asked how long they had been on maternity leave for so far, with respondents citing ‘0-4 months’ (38%), ‘5 to 9 months’ (37%) and ’10 to 12 months’ (25%). All respondents were then asked when they planned to go back to work, with the majority (64%), revealing they plan to take 52 weeks off, whilst others were planning to either return to work early (20%) or were debating not going back at all (16%).

All female respondents were then asked if they’d at any point felt any pressure to return to work early, to which one third of respondents, 35%, said they had. When asked where they felt the pressure coming from, the top responses were ‘my employer’ (47%), ‘my partner’ (28%) and ‘family members’ (15%).

When asked why they’d felt pressured to return to work early, the top responses were ‘it was made clear I was needed at work’ (31%) and ‘we weren’t sure if we could get by with statutory maternity pay’ (30%).

Male participants were asked ‘Did you take your full two week paid paternity leave?’ to which 73% stated they ‘yes’ did, whilst the remaining 27% admitted they did not. When asked why not, the top responses were ‘I had important meetings/clients to attend to’ (42%) and ‘I was under pressure to return sooner’ (38%).

When all respondents were asked if they felt that mothers and fathers get enough paid time off after they have a child, 56% said they felt mothers get enough but just one in 10 respondents (11%) said the same about fathers.

The new mums were also asked how far gone they were in their pregnancy before they told their boss, with the average response emerging as four months. When asked why they decided to leave it this long, the majority (57%) said they were ‘worried’ how their boss would react. A further 9% felt it would affect their career status and any potential promotions/bonuses in the pipeline.

George Charles, spokesperson for, said: “Getting pregnant is such a joyous time in any person’s life. You get to bring a little version of you and your partner into the world and that in itself is very exciting. However, the stress of what to do with work can be incredibly stressful. New dads only get two weeks of paid paternity leave to spend with their new-born and help out around the house, which isn’t long enough in the grand scheme of things, but it would seem that it isn’t easy for new mums either, with so many of them now admitting they feel pressured to go back to work much earlier than they would like to. We need to ensure we’re giving new parents the support they need.”


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