Here on the Mama Jewels Mama Blog, we love advocating for pregnant women and new mums, sharing our best tips to prepare them for pregnancy and motherhood.

Today, we want to spotlight fathers and talk about paternity leave. Between 2021 and 2022, only 204,000 fathers claimed paternity leave, which means there is a huge portion of fathers who are not taking paternity leave at all.

This begs the question, why do fathers not take paternity leave? We will discuss this notion in this article, outlining a few key points about paternity leave and paternity pay.

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What is paternity leave in the UK?

As per the UK law, fathers are entitled to 1 to 2 weeks of paternity leave after the baby is born.

The dad must take the paternity leave in one go, so they can’t spread it over different days.

Paternity leave cannot start before the birth, and it must end within 56 days of the birth (or the due date if the baby is early).

Fathers can also take unpaid leave to accompany a pregnant woman to 2 antenatal appointments

What is paternity pay in the UK?

The statutory weekly rate of Paternity Pay is £156.66, or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower).

The money is paid during the time the father is on paternity leave. Just like normal wages, tax and National Insurance will be deducted.

To claim paternity leave and paternity pay, you must fill in an online form called form SC3, and send this to your employer.

On the form, you will need to include:

  • the due date.
  • when you want your leave to start, for example, the day of the birth or the week after the birth.
  • if you want to take 1 week or 2 weeks of paternity leave.

What are the requirements of paternity pay?

To be eligible for paternity pay, you must:

The ‘qualifying week’ is the 15th week before the baby is due. This is different if you adopt.

Why do fathers not take paternity leave?

The purpose of paternity leave is to give fathers a week or two off work, so they can be at home to care for their newborn baby and the mother.

However, some fathers do not take paternity leave at all.

Research has shown that only a third of UK dads take paternity leave, even though they are legally entitled to take 1 to 2 weeks off.

In contrast, France allows fathers 25 days of paternity leave.

So, in the UK, why do fathers not take paternity leave? Here are a couple of reasons:

  • Inability to afford a pay cut

The biggest reason why some fathers do not take any paternity leave is because they simply cannot afford to.

Taking paternity pay equates to less money than the father would normally earn from their wages.

As we have mentioned already, a new dad is entitled to £156.66 for each week of paternity leave, or 90% of their current earnings (whichever is less money).

Hence, some fathers do not wish to take either of these payment options, because either way, it is less money than they normally earn.

This leads many fathers to continue working after welcoming a new baby. Instead of taking paternity leave, they may book annual leave to have some time at home with their partner and child, as this means they would not lose out on any wages.

  • Fear of being judged

Most workplaces are very accommodating when it comes to paternity leave and maternity leave.

However, some fathers feel psychological pressure when it comes to:

  • taking paternity leave.
  • asking for extra time off to care for the mother and baby.
  • requesting adjustments (e.g. flexible working or remote working).
  • taking time off work if the baby or mother becomes ill.

A father may fear that they will be judged or looked down on by superiors and colleagues if they need to negotiate extra time off to care for their newborn baby and help out at home.

In this situation, a new dad may feel a burden to ‘prove’ their loyalty to their company. So, they decide not to take any paternity leave at all, in the hopes of showing how dedicated they are to their job.

What’s more, a new dad may decide that Shared Parental Leave is the best option for their family. Shared Parental Leave is when two partners can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between them, after their child is born.

However, across many cultures and social circles, there are negative stereotypes about being a stay-at-home dad, because child-rearing is traditionally considered a feminine role. So, a father might opt out of taking Shared Parental Leave, due to social pressure from people around him.

Fear of missing out on promotions and job opportunities

Some new dads opt out of taking paternity leave because they believe their absence from the workplace will cost them career opportunities.

The pressure to provide may increase after the baby is born, so the father may feel anxious at the prospect of missing two weeks at work, especially if there are rewards and promotions on offer.

What gift can I buy for a new father?

Fatherhood is a special time in a man’s life- it takes a lot of courage to support a woman through the ordeals of pregnancy and birth. That is why we at Mama Jewels have branched out with products for new dads, to help them feel loved and appreciated as they navigate a wonderful new chapter.

Read on below to find out a few gift recommendations for new fathers:

Gifts for New Fathers

  1. New Dad Gift Hampers

Here at Mama Jewels, we have curated our own line of stunning gift hampers, which make the perfect present for expectant and new presents.

Our New Dad Survival Kit Gift Box (Green) is a wonderful treat box to surprise a first-time father.

We have collaborated with amazing British brands, to pack this hamper full of treats that any dad will love, as they juggle the lack of sleep, late night feeds, and early starts!

Everything in this hamper is vegan-friendly and non-alcoholic, and we have included amazing British brands that we think all dads will love!

This hamper contains:

  • Handmade gentle ‘Man’ Soap  – peppermint aromatic for some series post nappy changing handwashing.
  • Natural organic hand salve for excessive hand washing relief.
  • 2 bags of Posh Popcorn.
  • 2 bars of Montezumas luxury vegan approved chocolate.
  • Wooden and steel keyring – New dads are awesome and this will remind them!
  • Children’s story book with plantable seeds – for daddy to read at bedtime.
  • Box of fully caffeinated organic coffee bag.
  • Gift card with personalised message.

Click here to shop our New Dad Survival Kit Gift Box (Green).

Click here to browse our range of New Dad Gift Hampers.

Alternatively, Create Your Own Gift Hamper here.

  1. Daddy Keyring and Gift Box

Every dad needs a reminder on his car keys about how much his child adores him!

Our Daddy You Are Officially Awesome beech wood keyring is a cute keepsake to gift to a new dad, from the baby’s heart to theirs!

This keyring comes packed in a gift box for the added touch of elegance.

Click here to shop our Daddy, You Are Officially Awesome Beech Wood Keyring.

  1. Teething Jewellery for New Dads

Teething jewellery pieces make a lovely gift for new parents. These are useful chewing aids which the baby can chomp on, to find relief during the painful process of teething.

At Mama Jewels, our teething necklaces are baby-proof, elegant to look at, and effective at relieving teething discomfort.

Our Baltic Amber Necklace for Teething Baby (Cherry Pendant) is a striking piece of jewellery which will look cool around the neck of any dad!

Baltic Amber is well known as an anti-anxiety remedy that rids fatigue and weariness and can also help relieve the symptoms of teething in babies.

This pendant is mounted on a mocha cord, with a slip knot for adjusting, which we guarantee will not break even by the strongest of grabbing babies.

Click here to shop our Baltic Amber Necklace for Teething Baby (Cherry Pendant).

About Mama Jewels

Mama Jewels is an independent gift box company, selling planet-friendly artisan gifts, to help make the transition to motherhood easier and more comfortable for pregnant mums and new mums.

All of our products are pregnancy-safe, vegan-friendly, and sustainably sourced. Though our products are made lovingly in England, we do ship worldwide.

Click here to browse our gift hampersspa wellness boxesletterbox gifts, and vegan skincare collection, or create your own gift hamper here.

Read more articles about pregnancy, parenthood and gifts for new mums and mums-to-be on our blog here.

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We hope this article has provided the answer to the question, ‘why do fathers not take paternity leave?’