Fathers not taking paternity leave because of low pay, study suggests

·1-min read

Only a third of eligible new fathers are taking paternity leave due to the low level of pay, new research suggests.

Just over 200,000 fathers took paternity leave in 2021/22, compared to 636,000 mothers, according to a study by commercial law firm EMW.

The main reason for the poor take-up was the low level of pay available, said the report.

Statutory Paternity Pay in the UK is currently £157 a week, an increase of only £20 since 2014, but if it had kept up with inflation over that period, new fathers would now be entitled to £181 a week, said EMW.

Father and baby boy preparing coffee in kitchen
Just over 200,000 fathers took paternity leave in 2021/22, compared to 636,000 mothers (Alamy/PA)

Jon Taylor of EMW said: “Fathers on paternity leave are getting a raw deal and with inflation rising sharply it’s getting worse all the time.

“Paternity pay is not increasing anywhere near fast enough to keep up with the spiralling cost of living.

“With inflation rising in the UK, couples are having to take into account the increased cost of starting a family.

“The current rate of paternity pay is a disincentive both to having children and to men contributing actively to raising them.”

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