Working Families launches “Take Up Top Up” Paternity Leave Campaign

Survey reveals that 4 in 10 fathers don’t take paternity leave because they can’t afford it

Some employers still deny fathers their rights to paid leave

The charity Working Families has launched a new campaign to raise fathers’ awareness of their rights to paternity leave and to encourage employers to “top up” statutory pay to full pay for the two weeks of leave.

Before the launch of the campaign, Working Families, Dad.info and Netmums ran a website survey on paternity leave for one month.
The responses showed that:

  • 4 out of 10 fathers don’t take paternity leave
  • 72 per cent of those who did not take leave gave the reason that they could not afford to take it
  • 14 per cent of those who did not take leave gave the reason that they didn’t have enough length of service with their employer
  • 13 per cent could not take paternity leave because they were self employed and not entitled to paid leave.

Many of the fathers who could not afford leave took holiday pay instead:

“He has one week as holiday and one week paternity but we could not afford two weeks on such low pay”

”I took annual leave as statutory pay was far below my income level”

The survey, which returned almost 500 responses both from mothers and fathers, revealed some worrying attitudes from employers:

“My baby was four weeks early and it wasn’t ‘convenient’ with the company as there were lots of people on holiday”


“My partner took paternity leave but his boss made him go back after a week and he wasn’t paid anything at all, despite being with the company for four years”

“My husband’s company made it difficult for him to take the time off – he’s a manager and even though he was entitled to it, it’s a case of if he did take two weeks off, someone else would have basically replaced him”.

Working Families Chief Executive, Sarah Jackson, concluded:

“Fathers want to play a greater role in their children’s lives but our survey suggests that many can’t afford the time off when their new baby is born.  Fathers who are self employed, or who haven’t worked for an employer for long enough are not entitled to any leave or pay.  Our survey also shows that some employers don’t appear to know the rules, and deny those who are eligible their rights.  This has to change.

“We’re launching the campaign to raise awareness about fathers’ rights.  But we also need adequate levels of pay if fathers are to be encouraged to take leave.  That’s where employers can come in.

“Many good employers offer contractual pay on top of statutory maternity pay.  We want many more employers to “top up” statutory paternity pay to full pay for the two weeks.  Time with a new baby is a great gift to a new family and employers will reap the benefit of motivated employees.”

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1 Comment

  • What a great cause!

    Frankly, I am amazed that it’s even as high as 6 in 10 fathers taking the paternity leave as employers are not making it an easy decision to make.

    At a time where finances may be stretched anyway, the last thing a new father wants is the worry of losing money on his first pay cheque after the arrival of his baby.

    Those first few weeks are so precious – it should be a no-brainer that fathers are accomodated to spend this time with their newborn rather than having to make sacrafices and choices.

    Nikki Backshall
    Web Mums

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