Poorer fathers miss out on paternity leave

Fathers from low-income families still face barriers that prevent them spending time with their children, according to research from the Equal Opportunities Commission.

The study found that, while nearly 80% of professional fathers took at least two weeks’ paternity leave, that figure dropped to 60% among low-skilled fathers.

The EOC has called on the government to implement the new right to additional paternity leave as soon as possible. This enables fathers to take up to 26 weeks leave and statutory pay if their baby’s mother returns to work before her maternity leave and pay has expired.

EOC chair Jenny Watson said: “Our research suggests that we need to be vigilant in future to avoid creating an affordability gap for fathers in poorer families. The government’s review of support for parents in next year’s comprehensive spending review, with its emphasis on fathers as well as mothers, offers the perfect opportunity to consider targeted support for lower income families, ensuring that all fathers have a chance to take leave and build strong relationships with their children.”

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