Research indicates UK fathers are getting short changed when it comes to the early weeks of raising their children.
As the pressures of raising a family increase, life insurance broker, Reassured, has investigated which countries and industries are the best and worst for paternity leave. The experts spoke with UK fathers to determine their stance on the parental options they’re given, and the majority are dissatisfied.
A spokesperson at Reassured said, “Our study highlights the need for continued efforts to improve parental leave policies.”
According to the research, there are also significant disparities in parental leave experiences, with over one in six (17.1%) fathers being granted five to six weeks of paid paternity leave, whilst 20% were allowed just one to two weeks.
Over half (52%) stated they felt pressured to return to work early, 41% were denied longer leave and 60% wished their leave was on par with their partners.
The study further revealed significant regional variations, with Manchester as the best city for paternity leave, with 41% of fathers enjoying nine to 10 weeks of paid leave. Yet, cities like Norwich and Liverpool provided only one to two weeks for 33.3% and 30% of parents respectively.
Leeds stood out as the city where the negative impacts of longer paternity leave were the most pronounced, with 70% of fathers stating that their careers could be affected. In comparison, this figure was 45% in London and 43% in Birmingham.
Shockingly, 100% of fathers in the charity and law sectors reported that their careers could be adversely affected by taking longer leave. Other industries with high levels of career impact included law enforcement and security (75%), recruitment, HR, transport, and accountancy (67%).
For those in the creative arts and design industry, only 20% said they felt their career could be affected. This was also true for those in a teaching and education role.
So how does the UK compare to other countries for paternity leave?
Out of the 43 countries analysed, the UK came in 24th, with its average paternity leave length of 2 weeks, and most UK companies offering just an 18.5% overall average payment rate. This is a sharp contrast to the number one country, Spain, which offers dads an average of 16 weeks of paid paternity leave at 100% of their salary.
In fact, Spain’s paternity leave benefits dwarf that of every other country. The Netherlands, which came in second place, only offers an average of 6 weeks paid leave, less than half that of Spain, and at 79.9% the average salary, though this is still far ahead of what is offered to UK fathers.