- 3 updates
A Department for Business spokesman described the current parental leave system "old-fashioned and too rigid" after a study found few fathers are taking additional paternity leave.
The spokesman said: "This is why we are introducing a system of shared parental leave from April 2015 so that fathers can take more leave if they want to in the early days of a child's life.
"We want to challenge the myth that it is the mother's role to stay at home and care for children".
TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said a "good gift" this Father's Day would be for ministers to increase statutory paternity pay rates and for employers to top it up for longer.
Ms O'Grady said: "Poor levels of financial support are preventing new dads from taking extra time off and are particularly affecting low-paid fathers who simply cannot afford to take leave.
"Extending paternity pay from two to six weeks and paying a better statutory rate would make a massive difference, as has been shown in other countries".
Few fathers in the UK are taking advantage of additional paternity leave, mainly because of the low statutory rate of pay they would receive, according to a report released today.
A study by the TUC suggests that of 285,000 men eligible to take up to 26 weeks leave, just 1,650 did so in 2011/12.
The TUC claims the low take up is because men cannot afford to live on the statutory weekly rate of £136 a week - which is rarely topped up by employers.
In contrast, most fathers take the first two weeks of paternity leave, which is usually topped up by employers, they added.