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Fathers too scared to ask for shared paternity leave

The Government’s new shared parenting rules came into force in April but a new survey suggests that many fathers are reluctant to take advantage of time off to spend with their newborn


More than 87 per cent of men surveyed said they were worried about approaching the subject with their bosses.

Figures from the study found that 31 per cent believe that their manager would not be understanding, while 20 per cent thought their colleagues would make fun of them.

The research of more than 1,000 men was commissioned by employment law specialists Slater and Gordon.

New regulations on shared paternity pay were brought in last month and allow parents whose babies were born on or after 5 April 2015, to share leave.

The amount available is calculated using the mother’s 50-week entitlement after two weeks of compulsory leave following the baby’s birth.

Julie Morris, Head of the Employment Department at Slater and Gordon, said: “Our research shows that men clearly want to share in parental leave, but many fear that this will have a negative effect on their standing in the office or hamper their career prospects.

Another concern men have when it comes to even considering taking extra paternity leave is the fact they could be overlooked for promotion.

Over 20 per cent of men believe this would be the case.

Ms Morris added: “A stigma is likely to exist about asking to share parental leave and a cultural shift will need to happen for men to not feel embarrassed about asking their boss.”

She continued: “Bosses have a very important role to play in promoting shared parental leave and making it the norm for employees.

“If they do that successfully then they will see a happier, motivated and more equal workforce and that can only be good for business.”

Around 80 per cent said they thought the new rules would increase the number of women in senior positions.

The aim of the new shared paternity rules is to allow women to reduce the amount of time they want to take away from work and give their partners the chance to opt in to take the remainder.


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