20/10/2009 06:59 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Almost Half Of Men Don't Take Paternity Leave

New research reveals that almost half of men are not taking the two weeks paternity leave they have a legal right to. The main reason they give for not taking the leave is that they simply can't afford to.

The study of 4,500 parents in Britain shows that 2 out of 5 men fear that asking for flexible working arrangements will have a negative effect on their career prospects. The study, carried out by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, revealed that new dads are actually working longer hours in order to provide for their family, and are therefore struggling to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

The study goes on to identify that 2 out of 5 men would prefer to spend more time with their kids, but are unable to at the current time. Consequently, when looking for a new job the availability of flexible hours is a big factor.
The current rate of statutory paternity leave is £123 a week, although there are calls to raise this to 90 for the first 8 weeks.

There is evidence that adopting flexible working patterns have led to some companies reporting higher productivity, a decrease in staff turnover, and therefore improved customer feedback and training costs. Surely adopting a more flexible approach will be beneficial not only to families but to the economy as a whole too?

What do you think about paternity leave? Did you or your partner take the full two weeks? Would you have liked more leave?