More than half of the UK’s male employees would take advantage of proposed changes in parental leave that would allow them to spend more time with their newborn babies, research shows.
From April 2007, maternity pay will be extended to nine months, while fathers will be entitled to take up to three months of this extra time off as paid paternity leave if the child’s mother returns to work before her maternity leave is up.
A new survey of more than 10,000 employees, by recruitment website totaljobs.com, reveals that 58% of men would consider taking advantage of the changes.
A desire to play an active role in their child’s early months is a key driver for 53% of stay-at-home dads, while 13% don’t believe in traditional family roles.
And the balance of financial power seems to be shifting in some homes -14% of men would consider staying at home because their partner earns more money than they do.
Sharing the parental responsibilities gets the support of both sexes. Sixty-four per cent of women are in favour of transferring some maternity leave and pay to fathers, with 60% wanting their partners to take an active role with their children when they are young.
John Salt, website director for totaljobs.com, said: “This research shows that the ‘new man’ is alive and kicking and in your workplace. It demonstrates that British men prioritise spending time at home with their young children.”
However, of the 42% who said that they wouldn’t take up the leave, almost a quarter believe that taking more than two weeks’ paternity leave would damage their career – a “worrying” result, according to Salt.
“Organisations across the UK need to do more to support and reassure new parents while still operating as a successful business,” he said.