Fathers denied paternity leave
A recent online survey found that many fathers-to-be aren’t taking full advantage of paternity leave, with 40% of men not taking it at all.
Three out of four of those men said that they couldn’t afford to take the leave, while 14% said they didn’t have enough length of service with their employer, and 13% were self-employed and so weren’t entitled to official leave.
It also found that, because the statutory payout was so low, many men chose to take a portion of their holiday entitlement instead.
Employers to blame?
Others spoke of possible bullying tactics by employers.
“My husband’s company made it difficult for him to take the time off – he’s a manager and even though he was entitled to it, it’s a case of if he did take two weeks off, someone else would have basically replaced him,” said one respondent.
Working Families Chief Executive, Sarah Jackson, said that many companies weren’t aware of the rules and were denying paternity leave even to those who were entitled to it.
“Take Up Top Up” Campaign
“We’re launching the campaign to raise awareness about fathers’ rights. But we also need adequate levels of pay if fathers are to be encouraged to take leave. That’s where employers can come in,” she said.
“Many good employers offer contractual pay on top of statutory maternity pay. We want many more employers to “top up” statutory paternity pay to full pay for the two weeks. Time with a new baby is a great gift to a new family and employers will reap the benefit of motivated employees.”
With the UK slowly struggling out of recession, now is not the time many employers want to hear about offering additional pay for fathers, but when so many companies pay at least lip-service to “work life balance”, offering new fathers an opportunity to build a bond with their newborn child is one of the greatest things a company can do.
Paternity rights: the facts
- Statutory Paternity Pay is currently £123.06 a week.
- Notice period – an employee should inform his employer of his intention to take paternity leave by the 15th week before the baby is due.
- Eligibility – an employee must have worked continuously for an employer for 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the baby is due to be eligible for statutory paternity leave and must also meet an earnings requirement to be eligible for statutory paternity pay.
- Advice on paternity rights is available via www.workingfamilies.org.uk or by calling the Working Families helpline on 0800 013 0313.
Are you a dad who has taken, or been denied, paternity leave? Share your experience in the comments below.