New fathers 'cannot afford' paternity leave

08-08-2006

The majority of new fathers are not taking the full-entitlement of paternity leave due to concerns they return to work out of pocket and out of the running in the career stakes, a new survey has found.

British men are allowed to take two weeks off work following the birth of their child, but research by bank ING Direct suggests that less than two-fifths feel comfortable in using up their entitlement.

Just under two-thirds of eligible fathers spend less than a week off work, despite the majority of employers offering at least a week more than the statutory fortnight allowance.

The main reason for this reluctance is that 48 per cent of men cannot afford to lose out on two weeks wages, with the average working father set to lose £724 in earnings during this period, while one tenth believe that their career prospects would suffer as a result of leaving work for a two-week period.

Government legislation allows new fathers to take two weeks paid paternity leave, but they will receive a maximum of £108.85 a week during this time, with supplementary income at the discretion of employers.

Lindsay Sinclair, chief executive officer of ING Direct, said: "Our research shows that men continue to choose to return to work early, with many mentioning the high financial cost of taking paternity leave as an important factor."

New fathers are also allowed to take up to three months paternity leave if the child in question's mother does not use her full entitled maternity leave.


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