Is there any point in paternity leave? It’s the mother who gives birth, and needs recovery time – not to mention manage the logistics of breastfeeding. We’d all love time off to spend with our children but sometimes financial restraints mean this is not always possible – so why should fathers take their entitled 2 weeks of paternity leave?
Well – there’s a bit more to paternity and maternity leave than just recovery time. The first few weeks with a new-born are a proven essential bonding period for families, not to mention allowing for critical support for parents at a pretty life-changing time! Yet, despite this, there has been a 3.3% drop in the number of fathers who took paternity leave in the last 12 months and fewer than one in three spend longer than two weeks at home with their new-borns.
All fathers; adopters of a child; husband or partner of a mother (or adopter); or an intended parent is entitled to claim paternity leave which is paid at a statutory weekly rate of £140.98, or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower).
Leave may start on the day of the birth at the earliest and be completed within 56 days of the birth of the child, or adoption placement taking place
So why don’t fathers make the most of this crucial benefit?
One reason might be the increase in self-employed and gig economy workers, as they don’t receive statutory benefits after the birth of a child and it could be financially impossible for them to take the time away from work.
Additionally, similarly to shared parental leave (find out more about that here), the wide gap between mothers taking maternity leave and fathers taking paternity leave may be because of the current “status quo” of women predominantly taking charge of child care arrangements.
It doesn’t have to be this way! In Nordic countries a significant proportion of leave is earmarked specifically for dads in the form of a ‘daddy quota’; Sweden has increased this to 90 days. The result of this is higher employee satisfaction and retention, which benefits everyone.
So, to encourage employee wellbeing and promote a better workplace, why not find out more about paternity leave and shared parental leave to encourage more uptake?
To find out more contact us on 01736 339 384 or email HelloThere@sapiencehr.co.uk