Paternity leave is important time for dads to bond with their newborn babies and support their partners. We know that those families where dad takes time to be with their children right at the beginning will benefit the most over time. These dads are also more likely to share domestic roles at home which also has a positive effect on relationships.
Dads are currently entitled to two weeks’ statutory pay paternity from their employers, and many are also eligible for shared parental leave, which is anything up to 50 weeks in agreement with their partners.
We would like more families to benefit from this, our research shows many dads cannot afford to take time out from work or fear disapproval from their peers or employer. We’re continuing to explore what works for dads in Scotland and how business can benefit from greater engagement and loyalty at work.
While shared parental leave is a crucial step forward, we believe it doesn’t go far enough because it is often low paid and depends on mum giving up her leave. We will therefore work with employers to encourage to match pay for dads with enhanced maternity pay. The experience of other countries, particularly in Scandinavia, shows us that take-up is low until dedicated “daddy leave” is offered on a use-it-or-lose it basis.