Sunday, 29 August 2010

Paternity leave a personal view

The recent report on fathers who don't take paternity leave (Some 45% of new fathers said they did not take paternity leave) and the fact that David Cameron took paternity leave has put paternity leave in the news over the last few weeks.

There has been plenty of chat in the media and radio phone in's, I have noticed some people have questioned why fathers are not taking paternity leave. I have even heard that they think some fathers who don't take paternity leave are bad fathers. They don't understand why they haven't saved up.

Well as a father to be and someone who is not taking paternity leave I can tell them why. I can't afford it, simple as that. I would receive from the government £124.88 a week for two weeks. This is below the minimum wage for a 40 hour week. At the moment I need all the money I can get.

Of course you could ask, If you can't afford to have a baby then don't have one? Well I can afford to have a baby I just can't afford to take a cut in my salary as I need to save for a bigger flat, car and all the other related baby costs. In my girl friends case she suffers from a medical issue which normally means she can not get pregnant. But we had a little miricle so there is no way we would ever let this baby go and beside for us we could never have an abortion especially bearing this medical point in mind. It's a chance we can't passup.

So for the above reasons I decided to take 5 days holiday when the time comes rather than paternity leave. The figures do not take into account that fathers to be could be taking holiday to cover the first week.

I also think it would be better if paternity could be taken at a later date if required, say in 6 months time when it may be more practical to help out as a father (I'm not going to be very good at breast feeding).

I'm not asking myself for more money, I'm just pointing out that father are not bad for not taking of paternity leave. Fathers may need to earn money to help with their new life. Lets not be so quick to judge when we do not know the full story of Britains fathers and fathers to be.

Todays link on this subject A father's view of going back to work: 'I felt genuinely devastated' from the Guardian


  1. "I can't afford it, simple as that."
    "The figures do not take into account that fathers to be could be taking holiday to cover the first week."

    Well said, Dazzler. It's such common sense that I don't understand why it's even being debated as an issue. Virtually every new father I have known has taken paternity leave if they are affluent enough, holiday if they are not.

  2. I've just come off two weeks of paternity leave. I'm lucky enough to be able to afford it.

    However, I think you're right Daz, extra holiday later on is better spent. It's much more fun spending time (and bonding) with your 1-2 year old than it is with a newborn.

    I also agree that it'd be good if paternity leave could be postponed up to 6 mths in the future. It would allow both the father (and their employer) to come to a decent compromise as to when to take the time off.

    Babies don't always arrive at an appropriate time!

  3. Glad you agree. Although I sort of feel told off by as I can be alot of help in the first few weeks. I should add im having help from my mother in the first 2 weeks too. But more fleible paternity pay would be a better idea in my view.

    BTW how did it go Greengabbles. did you have a boy or a girl and did she/he come on time

  4. A girl: Matilda, everything turned out OK, though we had to travel to Frimley in Surrey as there are no longer the facilities at Heatherwood for my wife to give birth there and we didn't fancy the long trip to Wexham....

    Every couple/family is different and has different needs. It's never as simple as "the man should be at home to help in the first two weeks".

    Parenting is an odd "vocation", you are constantly fed things to make you feel guilty, you MUST BREASTFEED, you MUST NOT LET YOUR CHILD WATCH MORE THAN 20 MINUTES TV A DAY, you MUST NOT do x, y, z etc. etc. I think we should all calm down a little and support mothers/fathers rather than criticise.

    I understand breastfeeding is better for the child and that TV is bad, but it's not wrong to do a top-up bottle feed or put your child in front of the TV for half an hour while you have a cup of tea and a sit down now and again. My mum smoked all the way through her pregnancy with me and I was exclusively bottle fed, and I'm OK (sort of).

    I take as active a role in my children as possible, I work fulltime and my wife parttime, if she earned more than me I would happily work parttime and her fulltime but that's not the case unfortunately!

  5. As a Mother and Grandmother, the question of Paternity Leave brings a wry smile to my face.
    When I had my 'babies' 41 and 36 years ago there was not even paid Maternity Leave, you just left your job, Full Stop.
    Everything is different now, people are more affluent, many more Mums work, they have to in order to keep the life style they are used to!
    As for Paternity Leave, today's fathers are more 'hands on' than ever before, I do not know any new fathers who don't change nappies, walk their babies in the pushchairs etc etc. And it would be an unusual new daddy who wouldn't take paternity leave if only he could afford it.
    I think the majority use some of their annual leave at a time that will suit both parents, and of course grandparents are involved as well if they are lucky.
    As for TV - if only my nearly 3 year old grand-daughter would sit in front of it for an hour I would rejoice!!!!
    I applaud most of todays young parents, and I say to them 'Don't listen to advice - do what your instincts tell you' You know if it is the right thing if you are truthful to yourself.

  6. Anglea, no doubt things are much better now. But theres no need to stop here because they are. I very much enjoyed your advice however. That must of been hard.