According to the Fairness in Families Index launched by the Institute this week, the UK ranks in the bottom four countries of the 21 in the index with regard to supporting equal parenting.
“UK families get a raw deal on paid paternity leave, time spent caring for children and men and women’s pay, the Fairness in Families Index reveals. Despite Coalition Government claims to make Britain the ‘most family-friendly country in Europe’, the Index proves the UK “still has a long way to go”, says Rob Williams, Chief Executive of the Fatherhood Institute.
In Sweden, which ranked highest on paternity pay, fathers receive 40 weeks full paternity pay, as compared to the two days full pay UK fathers receive. Of course, they are entitled to two weeks, but how many families can afford for the primary breadwinner to lose eight days pay around the same time a new member joins the family?
Williams feels that it is this distinction between men and women as primary breadwinners that poses part of the problem.
He said: "The fairness in families index gives a benchmark for where Britain stands in terms of how far policies allow families to share parenting and be more 'equal'.
Parents' choices are restricted by an outdated distinction between fathers as breadwinners and mothers as homemakers. There is clearly a long way to go if we are to become 'the most family-friendly country in Europe' as the coalition has pledged."
With all the financial restrains the government keep reminding us of, I'm really interested to see how they aim to make Britain the most family-friendly country in Europe.
When our daughter was born, I had unpaid maternity leave, and we would not have been able to survive on paternity pay alone – even for two weeks - my husband would have had to return to work as soon as she was born. As it turned out he began working for himself from home, and it's suited us very well, but this is not the case for everyone.
How has paternity pay – or lack thereof – affected you, and do you think we'll ever achieve an economy that allows anywhere near 40 weeks fully paid paternity leave, or even maternity leave, for that matter?
1970s Swedish Paternity Leave ad featuring weightlifter Hoa-Hoa Dahlgren - OnBeing @ Flickr
Paternity Leave - The US Army @ Flickr
Marco + Masi - Nico Cavallotto @ Flickr