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Businesses urged to promote parental leave to working dads


Many fathers feel overlooked and under-supported by their employer. -Sarah Morris, Chief People Officer, Aviva

Research by Aviva in the UK shows: 

  • Half of working fathers haven’t heard of shared parental leave.
  • Nine out of 10 parents believe mums and dads should be given equal parental leave. 
  • Most fathers take less than a month off work when a child arrives.
  • One in 10 fathers took no time off work at the arrival of their most recent child.

Nearly half (46%) of working fathers are unaware they are entitled to take shared parental leave on the arrival of a child, according to new research. 

The survey, conducted by Aviva, also shows that one in 10 dads (11%) took no time off whatsoever when their most recent child arrived. Businesses are therefore being urged to do more to make sure their male staff know their rights, to enable them to spend precious time with their newborn or adopted children.

Crucially, the survey of UK parents with dependent children found that 86% of fathers would have taken more time off at the arrival of their children, but felt restricted by financial factors and employer constraints.

Nine out of 10 parents questioned (93%) felt that employers should give both mums and dads equal parental leave when a new child arrives. 

But the majority of fathers (56%) took less than a month off work when their most recent child was born or adopted: the time taken by this group was typically 12 days. By comparison, mums took more than a year off work on average. 

The survey revealed that

93% of new dads would have taken longer off work if their employer had allowed it

67% of new dads would have only taken leave if it was paid

26% of new dads would have taken unpaid time away from work

Sarah Morris, Chief People Officer, Aviva, said: “Working and looking after children means a constant juggling act and it’s clear that many fathers feel overlooked and under-supported by their employer in this respect. Progress is being made, but our research suggests there’s still a way to go.

“Family-friendly working policies can offer huge benefits to employers and workers alike, whether this means extended parental leave, flexible working, or options for job shares. We hope to see more employers introducing inclusive policies for both men and women, to help working parents strike a balance and get the most out of their lives, inside and outside work.”

The Aviva research also found:

  • 52% of parents believed there should be more support from the government for equal parental leave, while 69% wanted greater assistance for flexible working.
  • When respondents were asked to rank the most important factors when looking for a role, flexible working came second only to salary.
  • The poll found an interest amongst parents for job-sharing options, although only 4% of dads questioned were doing a job-share, compared to 9% of mums.
  • A further 48% of parents said they would consider a job share, but of these, almost two thirds said their employer did not offer them.


*Survey carried out by Censuswide Research 18-30 May 2018, polling 1,000 fathers and 1,000 mothers with children aged 16 and under, across the UK. 

**Parental Leave:

Under the Government’s Shared Parental Leave regulation, parents can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay.

Aviva’s equal parental leave policy entitles male and female employees to 26 weeks each on full basic pay on the arrival of a child. Parents are entitled to 52 weeks of leave of which 26 weeks is paid. On their return, parents will receive support to enable them to adapt back into work and any requests for flexible working will be considered.

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