Most fathers would consider taking extended paternity leave

More than half (58%) of respondents would consider taking extended paternity leave, according to research by law firm Allen and Overy.

The report, Discrimination at work: Paternity rights 2013, which surveyed 1,163 working men, found that 79% of those between the ages of 25 and 34 would consider taking extended paternity leave, while 70% of those aged between 35 and 44 said they would do so.

Respondents who would not consider taking extended paternity leave had a variety of reasons for their decision. These included: they were not prepared to make the financial sacrifice (42%), they had traditionally never done so before (26%), they were not paternal (24%), and their partner would want to stay at home with the baby (20%).

On 8 March 2013, unpaid parental leave for fathers will be extended from 13 to 18 weeks. From 2015, parents will be able to share parental leave, with the exception of the two-week period following the birth, which is reserved for mothers. Fathers will also be entitled to unpaid time off to attend two antenatal care appointments.

Oliver Jones, senior associate at Allen and Overy, said: “Our research leads to overwhelmingly positive results, with more than half of respondents stating that they would consider taking paternity leave.

“Interestingly, among those who said they weren’t willing to consider taking paternity leave, career progression and lack of encouragement from employers came far down the list.”