Press Release: Government balks at more equal Paternity Leave

14th June 2018 - for immediate release

The Government’s response to the Women and Equality Select Committee’s Report on Fathers in the Workplace is letting down women, men and above all, children.

In failing to go for a forward-looking paternity leave solution,
the Government has shown itself to be desperately hugging the past

The Government’s response[1] today to the recommendations of the Fathers in the Workplace report by the Select Committee for Women and Equalities is a whitewash.

The Government hide behind ‘complexity’ and ‘culture’ whilst failing to recognise their own responsibility by acting as an obstacle cultural improvements. The evidence is clear, those countries that offer properly funded, non-transferable paternity have achieved:

  • ·         Cultural change with shared parenting and dads taking care of far more children
  • ·         A substantial reduction in the gender pay gap
  • ·         A marked reduction in fatherlessness
  • ·         Improvements to child mental health and other well-being measures, especially where parents have separated
  • ·         Far fewer family court disputes

The trigger for such changes was when such funding was made non-transferable as many Scandinavian countries demonstrate. The evidence is in research from Sweden[2] and other nations. The evidence is in the report of the Women and Equalities Select Committee[3]. The evidence is in the many submissions to the Select Committee, including from ours at Families Need Fathers[4].

A recent study by Dr John Barry of University College London[5] found that men treasure fatherhood. Their sense of responsibility to their own children trumps all other concerns, and their own fathers are the biggest influencers on their attitude. We don’t need to wait for cultural change that is there already, but is being undermined by outdated Government policies.

Chair and Managing Trustee of Families Need Fathers, Jerry Karlin says The Government seem stuck in a bygone age where fathers were expected to be ‘providers’ and mothers ‘carers’. This way of life may be common for some MPs, but it does not reflect how people live their lives today or how they would wish to live today. For a working couple on average wages the Government subsidises maternity leave by around £7,500 and paternity by a paltry £290 – a gender pay gap of 96%! What is more, they continue to support gender inequality in society as a whole. It’s a cop-out”

[1] Fathers and the workplace: Government Response to the Committee’s First Report of Session 2017–19

[2] Shared Parenting in Sweden – Living in Two Homes - Malin Bergstrom, Karolinska Institute

[3] Fathers in the Workplace – Women and Equalities Select Committee 18th March 2018

[4] Families Need Fathers submission to the Women and Equalities Select Committee Inquiry into Fathers in the Workplace – September 2017 -

[5] The Harry’s Masculinity Report by Dr John Barry, University College London


FNF Background for Editors

Families Need Fathers - because both parents matter

FNF is a registered charity providing information and support on shared parenting issues arising from family breakdown, and support to divorced and separated parents, irrespective of gender or marital status. FNF is NOT a fathers' rights group - we support the best interests of children - namely mature and collaborative parenting by both parents - an objective which is inadequately promoted in the family court system and associated services.

Our primary concern is the maintenance of the child’s meaningful relationship with both parents.

Founded in 1974, FNF helps thousands of parents every year.

Please address any queries/requests for info to FNF ( - 0300 0300 110.


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