Paternity and Parental Leave – Dads are missing out.

The UK lags behind 28 other countries when it comes to the provision of paternity leave, with new fathers reluctant to take up shared parental leave, new research has revealed.

New fathers in Sweden are entitled to 80 days more paternal leave than those in the UK, a total of 18 weeks. Those in Iceland and Slovenia are eligible for 12 weeks’ total paternity leave, while Portugal, India and Lithuania also offer more time off at 100% pay.

Lobbying groups feel that, for paternity leave, two weeks at 80% paid is not enough. A small increase to four weeks at 100% paid would help new dads not only support mothers but also give them the time they need to build a lasting bond with their child. According to the research, many Dads feel forced to return to work as most families simply can’t afford the main breadwinner in the family to bring home such a reduced rate of pay.

The research has also suggested that fewer than one in 1,000 employees have taken up shared parental leave since its introduction in 2015. The reason take-up is low appears to link to the fact that many people do not understand how to make shared parental leave work for them.

This research is published following a tribunal ruling that found a male employee was discriminated against when his employer refused his request to take additional paternity leave at full pay, after his wife was diagnosed with postnatal depression.

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