Almost half of UK parents are dissatisfied with their employer’s paternity leave packages, according to a study by Koru Kids and think tank the Fatherhood Institute.
The childcare company’s poll found that 46% of parents did not feel their or their partner’s paternity leave package was enough for their needs. The most commonly cited reason was not being given enough paid time off (73%), not sufficient pay (59%) and a lack of flexibility on returning to work (28%).
Around three-quarters of fathers are still offered the statutory minimum of two weeks’ paternity leave, the survey found, compared to the 52-week entitlement women receive.
Eight in 10 parents felt unequal maternity and maternity policies reinforce traditional gender stereotypes, encouraging the mother to take on a “homemaking role” while the father returns to work.
Almost three-quarters of mothers felt the poor provision of paternity leave left them feeling abandoned during a vulnerable time, with 67% having to take on the majority of household chores.
Sixty-two percent said that having to go back to work meant the father struggled to build a bond with the baby, and 52% felt their child did not receive enough attention in the first months of its life.
Using information from Glassdoor’s top 50 places to work, Koru Kids and the Fatherhood Institute put together a ‘Paternity League’ table of employers offering the best paternity packages.
Drinks company Diageo tops the league, offering 100% of salary over 26 weeks and a total leave period of 52 weeks. Zurich Insurance comes a close second, offering paid leave for 16 weeks and a total leave period of 52 weeks.
Rachel Carrell, founder and CEO of Koru Kids, said that “every employer should check their paternity package and make sure it truly provides financial stability, flexibility and enough time for new parents to bond with their baby”. Six in 10 fathers look at employers’ paternity leave policies when considering a new role, she added.
“Our Paternity League table shows some companies have outstanding and inspirational policies, but disappointingly, others that are renowned for being great places to work actually have paternity packages that leave much to be desired, while several in the top 50 declined to share details of their package at all.
“It’s time we broke down the barriers to accessing parental leave, so that men, women and children can flourish.”
Adrienne Burgess, joint CEO and Head of Research for The Fatherhood Institute, said the think tank is campaigning for fathers and non-birthing partners to be given six weeks’ minimum paid leave in the first year after the birth of a child.
“We’ve been calling for a father-inclusive parenting leave system for years, but it’s still startling just how little progress has been made to change the status quo in the UK,” she said.
Research by the CIPD earlier this year found that 46% of employers support extending statutory paternity leave and pay.