UK paternity leave less generous than Iran, Congo and Burkina Faso, study finds

Fathers are entitled to just 10 working days off at 80 per cent of pay after they have a child

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The Independent Online

Almost thirty countries, including Iran, Congo and Burkina Faso, offer more favourable benefits for new dads than the UK does, according to new analysis.

A study conducted by law family law firm First4laywers found that 28 countries have better paternity benefits than Britain, where fathers are entitled to just 10 working days off at 80 per cent of pay after they have a child.

Shared parental leave was introduced in the UK in 2015, giving parents the right to split up to 52 weeks between them. But research cited by the law firm shows that just 1 per cent of dads have taken up the benefit.

The analysis also shows that many countries offer paternity leave at 100 per cent of pay and numerous offer more generous leave than the UK’s two weeks.

Sweden tops the list as the most generous country, offering 18 weeks for new dads. Parents of whichever gender in the country are entitled to stay at home with their newborn for a total of 480 days while receiving 80 per cent of their salary. According to First4laywers, 14 per cent of couples share parental leave in Sweden.

Similarly, Iceland and Slovenia offer 12 weeks paternity leave at either 80 per cent or 100 per cent of pay. Finland offers 11 weeks at 70 per cent of pay, putting it among the most generous too. Many other countries offer two weeks like the UK, but dozens, including Poland, Estonia, Denmark, Croatia, Iran, Venezuela, Ecuador, Togo, Mauritania, Madagascar, Kenya and Gabon, offer 100 per cent pay for that fortnight.

In March a TUC report found that new mothers in Britain receive just six weeks of what they deem “decently-paid” maternity leave, putting the UK in a “relegation zone” when it comes to parental benefits.

Women can take a year of maternity leave in the UK and will get paid for 39 weeks of that.

The first six weeks is compensated at 90 per cent of their salary, but it then drops dramatically to just under £140 per week, which is below the national minimum wage, according to the TUC.

Mothers in Croatia are entitled to six months of what the TUC considers decently-paid maternity leave, making that country the most favourable for benefits, followed closely by Hungary where mothers are entitled to just over five and a half months.

The Czech Republic and Poland are also among the top four, with Estonia, Italy and Spain tying for fifth spot by offering 3.7 months of leave each.