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  1. ITV Report

Two-thirds of working fathers 'using annual leave after new birth'

Credit: PA

The majority of working fathers are having to use allotted holiday time to bond and care for their newborn child, a study has revealed.

Fathers are entitled two weeks' paid paternity leave of at least £138 per week under the law.

However, only one in every six employers tops that figure up, despite evidence showing most fathers wanted to take more time off to care for their kids, according to Mumsnet.

Instead, two-thirds of the fathers quizzed by the parenting website admitted the only way they could support their partner and care for their very young children was to take annual leave.

Most couples wanted the father to spend more time at home, Mumsnet found. Credit: PA

Mumsnet spoke to 1000 mothers and found four out of five couples wanted the father to take more paternity leave, but most men could not afford it.

Only 13% of workers describe their employers as family friendly, while two-thirds did not.

Better paternity leave has been a key Liberal Democrat policy, with the coalition introducing shared parental leave from Spring 2015 in order to help parents share the responsibilities of caring for newborn children.

Shared parental leave kicks in when the mother ends her maternity leave after 12 weeks, and she can decide with her partner how to split the remaining 40 weeks between them.

Justine Roberts, chief executive of Mumsnet, said:

It's good to see the importance of fathers in babies' lives being recognised but in practice, we're not yet getting basic paternity leave right.

It ought to enable dads to spend time with their new babies, but because of the woefully low rate at which it's paid, they're forced to take annual leave or miss out altogether.

– Justine Roberts
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg Credit: PA

Mumsnet will tonight give awards to family-friendly companies, including Butlins, Matalan, McDonald's and Unilever.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

It's quite unfortunate that so many parents are unable to take time away from work to care for and support their young children, and it is bizarre that even in the 21st century, hundreds and thousands of hard-working parents are having to abide by Edwardian rules when it comes to juggling their work and family lives.

We need a modern Britain that works for modern families, not against them. I've fought hard in Government to bring about that change, whether it's through the introduction of flexible working, free childcare, shared parental leave or equalising paternity pay, so that men can spend more time with their newborn child without being penalised financially.

– Nick Clegg

Deloitte, PwC and Shell, who between them employ nearly 100,000 people in the UK, have announced they will be offering enhanced paternity packages to all their employees.