A study of figures on the new additional paternity rights which came into force in 2011/12, showed that only 1 in 172 new dads actually took advantage of the additional paternity leave on offer. Of the new fathers, almost 300,000 who were eligible only 0.6 per cent took extra time.
Under APL, a father is able to take up to 26 weeks’ leave (of which up to 19 weeks is paid), if their partner has returned to work no earlier than 20 weeks after the birth of the baby.
The TUC has pointed out that the statutory amount which a father would receive weekly needs to be reviewed as this is rarely topped up by employers. The current weekly allowance is £136.
To encourage more dads to take time off in the first year of their child’s life, the TUC is calling on the government to increase the statutory rate of pay to 90 per cent of average earnings, and up initial paternity leave from two to six weeks.
Frances O'Grady - TUC general secretary commented “Poor levels of financial support are preventing new dads from taking extra time off and are particularly affecting low-paid fathers who simply cannot afford to take leave,”