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Cath Everett

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Will the new paternity leave rights benefit you?

Two out of five new fathers will not take advantage of new paternity leave rights because they cannot afford it, they fear that their career will suffer or they are afraid of losing their jobs.
The coalition government introduced new regulations yesterday enabling new fathers to take up to six months paternity leave. The legislation was endorsed by four out of five of the 1,022 UK males who took part in a poll undertaken by price comparison website and who have or plan to have children.
But just over half of the 41% who would refrain from taking advantage said that they did not have the financial resources to do so. Just over a quarter believed it would have a negative impact on their careers, while 16% were afraid of losing their jobs.
A further 57% believed that employers would re-consider hiring men who wanted to start a family as a result of the new legislation.
Ann Robinson, uSwitch’s director of consumer policy, said: "The government may have recognised that fathers today are a lot more hands-on than they may have been in the past, but putting legislation in to support this is only part of the battle. The biggest fight will be to change social opinion, fears and prejudices and this is not going to happen overnight."
A key reason for not taking paternity leave in either the past or the future was financial, however, which meant that planning was necessary if fathers wanted to go down this route, she added.
The study also indicated that just over two thirds of respondents had refrained from taking statutory paternity leave on the birth of their last child, choosing to take paid holiday instead. Some 68% of this group took holiday because they could not afford to take time off that was not fully paid, 29% felt it was more acceptable to their employer and 21% were afraid their career would suffer.

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