Number of fathers taking paternity leave plunges to “10-year low”
The number of fathers taking paternity leave has fallen to its lowest level in 10 years, with just about a quarter of eligible fathers taking leave after the birth of their child, according to a new study.
The study, carried out by law firm EMW, found that the number of men choosing to take paternity leave “stalled” after an increase in the mid-2000s.
And in recent years it has fallen, after a peak of 221,000 men taking paternity leave after becoming fathers in 2016-17.
> THESE TWO PARS ARE CONDUCTED. IS IT STOPPED AFTER A RISE IN THE MID-2000s, OR WAS IT INCREASED? IT SEEMS IT’S PINK? WHAT IS THE 10-YEAR LOW? WHEN DID IT LAST AS LOW AS NOW? WE NEED MORE FIGURES.
Only 176,000 men made use of their right to paternity leave in 2020-2021, which is well below the 652,000 women who decided to take maternity leave during the same period.
Jon Taylor of EMW said: “For many men, taking paternity leave has become a luxury they cannot afford during the pandemic.
“In a time of enormous pressure on household finances, volunteering for a pay cut to £ 152 per week is just not sustainable for a lot of people. “
He argued that the “well-intentioned policy” of shared parental leave was not working as it should, as he warned that the proportion of fathers choosing to take paternity leave has remained “stubbornly low for years and has now started to decline. “
In Britain, parents can choose to take shared parental leave of up to 50 weeks, while paternity leave is currently 14 days, and fathers receive either £ 151.20 per week or 90% of their average weekly earnings, whichever is less.
Mr Taylor added: “If the government aims to increase the use of paternity leave, bringing the pay level closer to the national minimum wage would be a good first step. “
The combination of such low statutory paternity pay and the added financial pressure of the Covid crisis has likely increased the reluctance of some fathers to take a temporary break from work to be with their new child, researchers from the business.
Andrew Bazeley of the Fawcett Society, a leading gender equality charity, said The independent: “Research shows new dads are desperate to spend time with their babies – but what message are we sending them with a system that only gives them a fortnight and £ 300 for their problems?
“That’s if they even qualify – self-employed or precarious fathers are not. The parental leave system is broken, which also hinders women. If men are not encouraged and allowed to take an equal part in the lives of their children, we will never close the gender pay gap.
“The government needs to reform and invest in a system that gives all dads a living wage and dedicated time off so that the pandemic does not delay gender equality for decades.”
EMW noted that the increase in the number of people working remotely from home in the Covid crisis is also likely to have led to fewer fathers taking paternity leave due to more men spending time with them. their children while working remotely.
“The leave may have also allowed fathers to see more of their newborns, but even taking this factor into account, the number of men taking paternity leave is still worrisome,” the firm said. lawyers.
“Fathers allowed to take paternity leave are also good for companies, as they promote better employee mental health, as new fathers feel encouraged to take time off and are not forced to prioritize work first.” their family. “
The company also argues that paternity leave allows fathers to connect with their new children, as well as allowing new parents to share custody of children more equitably.