New research has highlighted discrepancies in paternity provisions for UK fathers.
A study by Reassured, which surveyed 250 new dads, showed that one in six (17.1%) were able to take five to six weeks of paid parental leave, while one in five (20%) were offered one to two weeks.
For men working in HR and recruitment, the life insurance broker discovered that more than one in three (36%) had the option of taking five to six weeks of paid leave. However, two-thirds did not believe they had enough time to bond with their child and also reported that taking the leave had negatively affected their career.
More than two in three (67%) of fathers working in HR felt pressured to return to work early, while the same percentage were refused extra leave requests.
Diversity and inclusion expert Danielle Brown advised employers to take steps to make paternity leave more accessible.
She proposed organisations consider implementing flexible and inclusive policies that catered for diverse family structures, ensuring communications were inclusive, offering equal opportunities and encouraging all staff to take leave, providing return-to-work support and introducing mentorship and training.
Commenting on the findings, Reassured urged employers to take action.
Phil Jeynes, director of corporate strategy at the company, said: “Our study highlights the need for continued efforts to improve parental leave policies.”
“It is particularly surprising to see HR among one of the worst perceived industries for paternal leave, given the nature of the profession. With such vast disparities between industry paternal leave experiences, it will be interesting to see how policies change in the future to help minimise this, and although paternal leave was slightly improved earlier this year, our study clearly highlights the need for continued efforts to improve the policies.”