Dads want more time off with their babies

Insurer Zurich the latest firm to beef up their paternity offer, and they’ve commissioned research to go with it.

Dad with baby and milk bottle


The majority of new dads don’t take the amount of paternity leave that they feel they need to bond with their new children.

That’s according to new research by insurer Zurich.

They commissioned a poll of dads to mark an increase in their own offer to 16 weeks off at full pay for fathers and other non-birth parents.

That’s to be backed up with support for families whose children are born prematurely with additional paid leave for the premature period; paid leave to support through the IVF process; paid leave to support people with miscarriage and a refreshed policy for those with caring responsibilities.


Forty percent of those surveyed said that on returning to work, they didn’t feel they’d spent enough time with their new family while 26% said they felt too tired and that performing their jobs was difficult.

Just under half (49%) said they took between 11-14 days statutory paternity leave, 30% took between 4-10 days though 15% said that they took no time off at all.  Of those that didn’t take statutory paternity leave, almost half (45%) said they couldn’t afford to take the drop in their pay for two weeks. A further fifth (23%) said that this was down to a heavy workload.

This comes in stark contrast with the amount of time dads would like to take in an ideal world. The majority (67%) said they’d choose up to 20 weeks and 25% who’d take over 21 weeks.  This gap is taking its toll with seven in ten dads (72%) agreeing either somewhat or strongly that new fathers tend to suffer emotionally and mentally after the birth of a child and juggling the demands of returning to work.

When asked if they’d take 16 weeks paid paternity leave if it was offered by their employer, the overwhelming majority (77%) said yes and that they’d love to spend it with their new family.


The new Zurich policy comes into force in December. It consists of two weeks standard paternity leave plus an extra 14 weeks to be taken in the baby’s first year.

Steve Collinson, Zurich’s Head of HR said: “It comes as no surprise that the vast majority of fathers we’ve surveyed do not feel they’re getting the precious time they need to bond with their new families. The current deal for most dads, ultimately impacts both parents and seems outdated given the shifts we’re seeing in family make-up and the roles we play.

“As an employer, we’re hugely proud to be announcing these changes – fundamentally, it’s about doing what’s right for our employees.  As well as having some hugely talented people at Zurich that we want to keep hold of, we’re keen to attract new talent and believe offering a family friendly workplace, which includes flexible working options for all parents, is a step in the right direction.”

Zurich man and expectant dad Josh Dac


Joshua Dac works for Zurich in Croydon. He’s expecting his first child in December meaning he should be among the first to use the new policy. He said, “Seeing this initiative take shape is really positive and exciting, it’s great to see Zurich focussing on supporting all of its employees as parents.  It’s life changing for us as a family too.”


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