Paternity policies need urgent revision, here's why

The UK has the least generous paternity leave entitlement in Europe. Currently, the statutory entitlement to paternity leave is two weeks and the weekly rate for paternity pay is £172 a week, which is 44% of the national living wage...
HR Grapevine
HR Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd
Paternity policies need urgent revision, here's why
63% of fathers aren't ready to return to work

Recent research from Pregnant Then Screwed found that 63% of all recent fathers said they did not feel mentally ready to return to work when they did. Unfortunately for most, taking more than the standard two-weeks of leave is simply not an option.

The research also found that fewer than one in five (18%) prospective parents say they or their partner could afford to take six weeks of paternity leave at the current statutory rate of pay.

Sadly, this is the state of paternity leave within the UK. The nation has the least generous paternity leave entitlement in Europe. Currently, the statutory entitlement to paternity leave is two weeks and the weekly rate for paternity pay is £172 a week, which is 44% of the national living wage.

Perhaps most alarmingly, Pregnant Then Screwed’s research discovered that for one in five new dads, around 20%, no parental leave options were available to them following the birth or adoption of their child.

This is something that Jane Clifford, People Director at Brewers Decorator Centres, has considered at length, due to her own experience of balancing paternity with the need for family time. “From my own experience, my son was born small and early. My son wasn't in neonatal for long, but my husband did have to go back to work.

“I was in that situation where I was without my child’s father whilst going through something incredibly hard. He had to go back to work, so that he could save his paternity leave for when we’d vitally need it later,” she adds.

As a result, Brewers has opted to introduce a policy extending the amount of time that working parents can spend with their families in cases such as this. “When families are in these situations, that they just need a bit more time. If we can help other families not have to make those choices, we will,” Clifford concludes.

The effects of offering such policies to staff are extremely positive. McKinsey & Company research polled 130 new fathers and their partners, across ten countries, who had taken part in extended paternity leave, and found that resoundingly, their experience was a positive one, despite some having concerns about what it might mean for their careers.

From my own experience, my son was born small and early. My son wasn't in neonatal for long, but my husband did have to go back to work

100% were glad that they’d taken the leave and stated that they would do so again, 90% noticed an improvement in their relationship with their partner and 20% noted that they were worried about potential career setbacks, but found that the benefits of being present in the early stages of their children’s lives outweighed that worry.

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