One in seven dads who used shared parental leave scheme said they faced workplace discrimination, according to new data.
A new survey of almost 8000 fathers by Pregnant Then Screwed reveals eight out of ten dads think their employer is not doing enough to support fathers in the workplace.
One in four carried on working during paternity leave and one in five wanted to take longer leave but feared what it would do to their career. Ten per cent of new fathers take no paternity leave at all, often saying it’s because they can’t afford it.
Joeli Brearley, founder of Pregnant Then Screwed said, “According to UCL the UK’s parental leave policies are the least generous in Europe. Paternity leave has huge benefits for families and the economy. It improves the wellbeing and educational attainment of children, it improves the mental and physical health of mothers, and it ensures a more egalitarian split of the unpaid labour. Furthermore, couples who have a more equal split of the unpaid labour spend more time in paid work.”
The poll also showed that 16% of dads don’t know about shared parental leave, which still has very low take-up rates.
‘’The Government first promised a review of the shared parental leave scheme in March 2017, but five years later we are yet to see the results of the evaluation,” added Brearley. “The UK is falling way behind other Western nations when it comes to parental leave, but the Government seems happy to ignore this issue despite the obvious benefits to families and the economy.”
Pregnant Then Screwed have launched a new campaign called Let’s Talk About Six which is looking to equalise the parental leave system. It is supported by a petition which currently has over 97,500 signatures.
Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC – which helped write the survey – said, “New dads shouldn’t have to spend any of their precious paternity leave working, or face financial hardship for taking time to bond with their new baby. It’s clear our current paternity system isn’t working. Without better rights to properly paid leave, many new parents will continue to miss out on spending important time with their children. All dads and partners need access to longer, better-paid paternity leave. Raising statutory paternity pay to at least the level of the real living wage would be a good start.”
Said Brearley, “For too long fathers and same sex parents have been denied a fair amount of paid parental leave. This adds to inequality both at home and at work. It’s time to change things up. That’s why we’re calling on the Government to offer all new parents a minimum of six weeks paid leave at 90% of their salary when they become a new parent.”