Many 'can't afford paternity leave'

BabyThe growth in the number of men taking paternity leave has ground to a halt because of financial pressures facing families, according to a new report.

Research by commercial law firm EMW found that 202,000 men took statutory paternity leave in the past year, an increase of just 1% on the previous 12 months.

The state of the economy means that men are more reluctant to give up their salary to take the £136-a-week paternity pay.

Jon Taylor, of EMW, said: "Household incomes are under a lot of pressure at the moment. Unless the economy improves or the paternity pay increases, we may not see a further substantial rise in the number of men taking paternity pay.

"The reality is that many households can't afford more paternity leave and many SMEs (small and medium enterprises) could not afford the cost of additional paternity leave being passed on to them."

Fathers are currently entitled to two weeks of leave from work for the birth of a child.