Paternity leave proposals unpopular

April 20, 2010, 12:01 AM GMT+0

Over two thirds of the British public who are married or are living as married would be unlikely to take advantage of the Government’s proposed paternity allowances according to a Croner and Flagship survey. The survey found that 68% claimed that they or their partner would be unlikely to take up Labour’s proposed paternity leave if/when they had children.

The proposals would allow fathers an additional 20 weeks’ paternity leave after the birth of their baby. Fathers would be allowed a minimum of two weeks or a maximum of 26 weeks; however in terms of pay they would only receive 90% of the father’s average weekly earnings or an amount of £123.06 a week, whichever is lower.

It seems that this level of pay is perceived as too low, and as such this would be the main reason behind the lack of intended uptake. When those who are married or living as married who were unlikely to take advantage of the paternity allowance, were asked their reasons for this, the most common stumbling block cited was financial, which 38% claimed as the main reason. And given that the statements ‘I like working too much’, ‘status reasons’ and ‘potential negative view of colleagues’ only came in at three, three and four percent respectively of all adults who were unlikely to take this allowance, it seems that paternity allowance could see a boost in popularity if only more pay were offered.

Apart from financial worries though, it seems that many of these respondents aren’t worried about paternity leave: the second most common reason was ‘I would never have children’, with 18% saying this. Perhaps surprisingly, the option ‘it’s a women’s role to look after children’ came in third with ten percent of the population saying this (and 14% of women) – which presumably means that those who chose this option would be unlikely to expect the father to take up paternity leave at all.

Whatever the reasons behind it, the proposed allowance’s unpopularity has been picked up on TellYouGov, with tygs commenting on a range of issues such as ‘why is the rate of pay so low when most men are the main earners?’ and ‘dads should have at least a month [paid paternity leave]’. Pay is once again the main sticking point.

On a happier note, however, of the 24% who stated either they or their partner would be likely to take paternity leave, 77% stated that they would do so to spend time with their new baby.

Survey details and full results