19% of working fathers worry about parental leave impact

Almost one in five (19%) fathers feel that taking extended parental leave would be negatively viewed at work, according to a new survey.

Now: Pensions and the Diversity Project has released its research, which puts a spotlight on the extremely low take-up of paternity leave on this year’s International Men’s Day (19 November). It found that only 5% of working fathers took more than 26 weeks off and almost half (43%) expressed concerns about catching up on their workload when they returned.

More than one-quarter (27%) believe that taking extended leave has had a negative impact on their career, however 64% said it has changed their view on maternity leave and provided more perspective on what their partner is expected to go through.

Almost all (97%) of those surveyed would recommend taking extended parental leave, while 72% had already taken and would consider doing so in the future, and 45% feel that they took the right amount of time off.

In addition, 34% of working parents have had to pay more for their childcare throughout the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, with 25% relying on nursery or preschool and 12% using a nanny, au pair or childminder. Just over two-thirds (67%) looked after their children themselves and more than four in 10 (43%) relied on grandparents, other family member or friends.

Michael de Lathauwer, chairman of Now: Pensions and diversity and inclusion group lead, commented that the organisation has long been campaigning on initiatives to help close the gender pensions gap, and is committed to providing employees with a fully flexible and collaborative approach to working.

“The survey findings released today show the huge benefits to both employees and organisations who are supportive of inclusive family leave policies. We are proud to sign up to the Diversity Project pledge and will be reviewing our family leave policies across our organisation,” he said.