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Join our campaign for a better paternity offer for Britain's fathers
The UK's statutory paternity offer is the least generous in Europe, and one of the worst in the developed world. Britain's fathers - and their families - deserve better.

Campaign

What we're calling for

We want all UK fathers to have the right to six weeks’ well-paid leave in their baby’s first year, as a minimum.

 

This would be made up of:

  • Two weeks’ paternity leave, to be taken after the birth

  • A ‘daddy month’ (four weeks) of non-transferable parental leave, to be taken at any point in the baby’s first year

 

These periods of leave would be paid at 90% of average weekly earnings, just as the first six weeks of maternity leave is now.

 

Both leaves should be a Day 1 right for employed fathers/second parents, and with a payment ‘cap’ for high earners.

 

There should be a Paternity Allowance for other fathers/second parents, similar to the Maternity Allowance currently available for mothers ineligible to maternity leave.

 

For all this to happen, we need the next Government to reform the statutory paternity and parental leave system.

Why change is needed

Fathers need a good amount of protected time to:

  • Bond with their babies

  • Support mothers’ birth recovery and breastfeeding

  • Become skilled and confident solo caregivers

 

The current UK statutory paternity offer excludes too many fathers – including those who are self-employed, aren’t classed as ‘employees’, or have changed employer within the previous ten months; and those who DO qualify, but can’t afford to take the leave.

 

Many fathers who DO take leave, take a financial hit their families can’t afford under the current system. And many mothers are left literally ‘holding the baby’ because the system pushes them to stay at home while their partners focus exclusively on breadwinning.

 

Our country is missing an opportunity to become more competitive by enhancing statutory support for fathers.

 

Six weeks for dads would help:

  • Many more fathers take leave

  • Many mothers return to work earlier

  • Reduce the gender pay gap

  • Reduce financial stress for families of young children

  • Lessen demand for paid-for early years education and childcare

Why six weeks?

We are proposing the 6 weeks model as a significant improvement on the current offer, which has barely changed since it was introduced in 2003.

 

This would offer a middle ground between the current offer and ‘best in class’ Scandinavian systems – which feature longer periods of parental leave, with some ringfenced for each parent and some able to be taken by either parent.

 

We see our proposal as a vital stepping stone towards such a system: for the first time, mothers and fathers would have access to an equal amount of well-paid leave – and fathers would have an individual right to a month of parental leave, which is key to transforming gendered roles and attitudes.

 

In future, we need a bigger review of maternity leave and pay, and the overall balance between ‘health and safety’ (maternity and paternity) and ‘caregiving’ (parental) leaves. But we think the 6 weeks model would be a great start, and would bring us closer to the ‘best in class’ systems.

What we're doing

We are lobbying the main political parties' key politicians and officials to introduce the 6 weeks for dads model after the 2024 General Election

We are listening to and sharing families' and employers' stories, to show why a better system is needed, and the benefits it would bring

We are compiling a list of employers offering a minimum of six weeks' well-paid leave to fathers - to show the Government that this is achievable, and to help parents find out which organisations are already choosing to invest in involved fatherhood

We are working to pull together and improve the evidence base for more and better leave for fathers. Read our 5-page response to Government in February 2024.

In 2023 we wrote an open letter, signed by more than 30 partner organisations, to Kemi Badenoch MP, Business and Trade Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities – calling for a rethink on the Government’s decision, five years after launching a consultation on parenting leave reform, not to improve the amount of leave and pay available to fathers. Since then, we received a response reiterating the Govt's position despite our successful 'six weeks for dads' parliamentary petition which attracted more than 14,000 signatures

How you can help

This is important because we need to put a human face on our campaign. Maybe you're a dad who wasn't able to take time off when your baby was born, or a mum whose partner couldn't. Perhaps you could take an extended amount of leave, and can talk about how great that was.

Please share your story with us, and tell us about employers offering 6 weeks or more well-paid leave.

The more case studies we can gather, the more likely we are to gain valuable media coverage for the campaign.

Are you an employer with an enhanced paternity or parental leave offer? Email our Deputy Chief Exec Dr Jeremy Davies to be included in our listing

To help keep this issue high up on the agenda during the general election campaign, we want to encourage as many people as possible to contact their prospective candidates. We've created a template email you can edit to include your own reasons for supporting the campaign.

*you can find Parliamentary candidates names and contact details via Who can I vote for?

You can see what the main political parties are saying about dads across their manifestos summarised in this table. Make your voice heard!

Organisations or projects that work with fathers

Email our Deputy Chief Exec, Dr Jeremy Davies, so we can publicise your support for the campaign.

Individuals

Become an FI supporter today, and accelerate the movement for lasting, transformative change for fathers.

Post your story or thoughts on this issue on social media, using the hashtag #6weeksfordads and tagging us.

Help us deliver this important work by making a donation.

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Case studies

campaign case studies
Anthony Friend.jpg

I was 90% in the room and 10% sorting out work"

Anthony Friend
Nick 2.jpg

I just can't imagine not having that time to recover and rest

Nick Butler-Watts
Screenshot 2024-06-28 at 09.50.41.png

When I walked into the room his little face would light up

James Taverner
RicardoGomes.jpg

It makes me rethink if I want to have more children

Ricardo Gomes

Resources

Table overview of what the main political parties manifestos' are saying about dads

Data and analysis

A table showing where the UK stands in the international league table for paid paternity and parental leave

A summary of what the UK spends on fathers

A summary of paid leave for fathers globally

Blogs

Download our campaign graphics to use on social media to show your support - Instagram and Facebook / LinkedIn formats available below

News coverage

(June 2024) Channel 5: More paternity leave for dads?​

(June 2024) People Management: Paternity leave 'significantly stalling' gender equality, research suggests​​

(March 2024) People Management: Call for more help as survey reveals many fathers cannot afford to take paternity leave​

(March 2024) BBC News: Paternity leave - call for more help as fathers cannot afford time off

(March 2024) BBC News: New paternity leave rules in England, Scotland, and Wales with FI's Dr Jeremy Davies​

(June 2023) Metro: Why two weeks paternity leave will never be enough for today's dads

Presentations

(March 2024) Parent-Infant Foundation: Manifesto for Babies launch event with FI's Kathy Jones (starts at 21'00)

(February 2024) Future Men: Agenda Dad with FI's Dr Jeremy Davies

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