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Looking ahead to the General Election: what do parents want?

New polling conducted by Working Families on behalf of the Families and Work Group suggests that Britain’s political parties need to offer a better deal for new dads, if they want to win the next General Election.

polling statistics of parents

In the poll [note 1] almost three-quarters (73%) of parents with dependent children aged 0 to 18 in England and Wales said the next Government should improve parents’ pay and leave entitlements. More than two-thirds (68%) said they would be more likely to vote for a party that promised to introduce better leave and entitlements for new parents.

 

Two-thirds (65%) of respondents said the statutory two weeks of paternity leave, and the statutory rate of paternity pay, are not enough. And almost nine out of ten respondents (88%) said self-employed fathers, and those who have worked for their employer for less than 26 weeks – all of whom are currently excluded from paternity leave and pay – should be made eligible.

 

More than half (56%) of respondents said that if the next Government were to reform paternity leave and pay, the priority should be to provide more paid weeks of leave. Almost half (46%) of respondents said fathers should be entitled to more than three months’ leave. And more than two-fifths (42%) said mothers and fathers should get the same leave and pay entitlement to look after their baby in its first year.

 

What's our response?

The Fatherhood Institute, one of 18 organisations that make up the Families and Work Group, is campaigning for a statutory paternity offer of six weeks’ leave for new fathers, paid at 90% of average weekly earnings.


Dr Jeremy Davies, Fatherhood Institute Deputy Chief Exec, said:

"The UK's statutory paternity leave offer is a national embarrassment. It's the worst in Europe and only three countries in the OECD offer dads less. This polling shows that politicians need to listen to parents' concerns on paternity leave, or they'll regret it when the election comes."
 
mother and father swinging their baby toddler in the air

Summary of Working Families polling (March 2024)

Among all respondents:

  • 92% said it’s important for fathers to take time off to look after their baby in its first year

  • 83% said the Government should do more to help families balance work and childcare in babies’ first year

  • 73% said the next Government should improve parents’ pay and leave entitlements

  • 68% said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate/party that promised to introduce better leave and entitlements for new parents

 

Among all respondents, on paternity leave and pay:

  • 65% said the current statutory 2 weeks’ paternity leave is not enough

  • 88% said self-employed fathers, or those who haven’t worked for their employer long enough to qualify for paternity leave, should be eligible

  • 65% said the statutory rate of paternity pay is not enough

  • 56% said that if the next Government were to reform paternity leave and pay, the priority should be to provide more paid weeks of leave

  • 46% said fathers should be entitled to more than 3 months leave

  • 48% said fathers should be entitled to more than 3 months’ leave paid at 90% of salary

  • 52% said fathers should be entitled to more than 3 months’ leave paid at the statutory rate

  • 42% said mothers and fathers should get the same leave and pay entitlement to look after their baby in its first year


Among respondents who said they were likely to vote in the next General Election:

48% said they would vote Labour, and 22% Conservative. In the previous election, 41% had voted Labour and 37% Conservative.


 
Notes
  1. The poll, conducted by Survation for Working Families, on behalf of the Families and Work Group, was of 1,245 parents (aged 18 or over) in England and Wales, with dependent children aged 0-18.


 

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