Only 10% of fathers take more than two weeks paternity leave

Until dads get paid, unpressured paternity leave, mothers are going to struggle to get back onto the career ladder.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 09 Feb 2015

For those who think the fight for gender equality is all but over, a report on paternity leave makes for pretty sobering reading. Fewer than one in 10 fathers take more than the statutory two weeks of leave after their children are born, compared to 96% of mothers. Perhaps even more shockingly, a quarter of fathers take zero paternity leave at all.

Pay is a big motivating factor: only 9% of new fathers get full pay for more than the two weeks, compared to the 70% of mothers who get their salary for one to 38 weeks, according to the research by the Institute of Leadership & Management.

From April 2015 parents will be able to share the 52 weeks of statutory leave that mothers get at the moment (about time too). However the ILM warned that the new law might not have much impact given cultural perceptions that men don’t take time out for their kids.

‘In order to give more mothers a realistic choice of returning early to their careers, organisations must first identify and address the cultural (and financial) barriers that risk preventing fathers from taking up their shared leave entitlement,’ it said.

The figures support this too - 72% of managers thought parental leave affected teams’ efficiency and productivity. It’s obvious workplaces are impacted when people take extended periods of time off; however, employers need to accept having children is an inescapable fact of life for many men and women. Once expectations even out then we might see the gender gap closing and more fathers spending time with their children.

For those who like their depressing data in pictorial form, here’s an infographic from the ILM:

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