43+ Paternity Leave Statistics, Trends and Facts [2024]

December 27, 2023 0 Comments

Does your career leave no time for family?

Are you a father hoping to support your partner after childbirth?

Paternity Leave can help new parents balance their personal and professional lives. 

However, are current laws enough to support the new father?

What do the global trends look like and are they changing?

Top Paternity Leave Statistics – Editor’s Pick

  • Today, 114 countries offer some form of paid leave for fathers. [1]
  • 20% of fathers do not take any paternity leave, mainly for financial reasons. [2]
  • The average length of paternity leave is 7 days, which is considered too short by most people. [1]
  • 10 years ago, the average length of paternity leave was only 3 days. [1]
  • More than 62% of new fathers say they would take more time off if the pay rate was increased. [2]
  • Almost 18% of fathers admit that they still have to do some work whilst on paternity leave. [3]
  • It is estimated that mandating paternity leave increases the proportion of women workers by 6.8%. [4]
average paternity leave is 7 days, which is considered too short by most people

Even though paternity leave is gaining popularity, it is still too short in many places. 

The main problem is that it’s seen as less important than a mother’s role in parenting, making it less significant.

  • 20% of U.S. companies do not comply with the Family Medical Leave Act and fail to offer paternity leave. [5]
  • Over the last 10 years, the length of fathers’ parental leave has increased by 57%, averaging to 14 days. [1]
  • Only 21% of workers in the U.S. have access to paid paternity leave through employers. [6]
  • During COVID, the share of parental leaves taken by fathers increased by almost 99% in Japan. [7]
  • In the UK, only 12% of men in low-paying jobs took paternity leave, compared to 51% of men in high-paying jobs. [2]
  • Among self-employed fathers, only 31% took time off when their partner had a baby. [2]
  • 53% of families have reported financial distress when fathers take paternity leave. [3]
  • 19% of fathers feel forced to do some work during their paternity leave because of their employer’s pressure. [3]

What Do People Think About Paternity Leave?

When men take sufficient paternity leave with wage support, it brings positive changes. 

It results in decreased family stress, improved fairness between genders, and increased involvement in parenting. 

The following statistics indicate that people are aware of these benefits and largely support paternity leave.

  • 35% of fathers opt out of paternity leave due to pressures involving salary, career, and workplace atmosphere. [8]
  • A recent Pew Research Center survey revealed that 82% of young people support paternity leave, compared to 55% of senior citizens. [5]
  • 71% of respondents agree that newborns should receive equal bonding time with both their mothers and fathers. [5]
  • Approximately 82% of Americans believe in providing paid maternity leave, while 69% support paid paternity leave. [9]
  • Most people agree that mothers should receive 8.6 weeks and fathers should receive 4.3 weeks of paid leaves on average. [9]
35% of fathers refuse paternity leave due to workload and pressure

Why is Paternity Leave Important?

Research shows that dads who take breaks of two weeks or longer are more involved in taking care of their kids, even after nine months from birth. 

They’re also more likely to stay involved in their children’s lives as they grow up.

These changes can result in better outcomes for children, including their social, emotional, cognitive, and health development, as well as fostering healthier and more stable relationships with their parents.

  • Research suggests that increasing paternity leave reduces mothers’ illnesses by almost 1.3%. [10
  • Improved paternity leave reduced the gender employment gap and boosted GDP by 1% in the UK. [2]
  • 29% of new parents experienced a new mental health issue in the first two years of their newborn’s life. [2]
  • 63% of new fathers agreed that they were not mentally ready to return to work after their child’s birth. [2]
  • 45% of new parents said they received no treatment for their mental health issues following childbirth. [2]
  • In the UK, paternity leave contributed to higher female employment, increasing economic output by £23 billion. [2]
  • A Swedish study found that paid parental leave increases a mother’s earnings and career prospects. [5]

Does Paternity Leave Improve Gender Equality?

Research shows that when fathers take sufficient paternity leave, it can help reduce wage differences between men and women. 

This not only impacts the mother’s salary but also boosts overall household income.

The wage gap tends to grow notably when women become mothers. 

This happens because of policies, work culture, and traditional views that see men as primary earners and women as primary caregivers.

  • In California, the Paid Family Leave law increased father-only leave-taking by 50% and joint leave-taking by 28%. [11]
  • In New Jersey, the adoption of paternity leave reduced the gender pay gap to 27%. [11]
  • The World Bank reports that parenthood is the worst performing indicator in terms of gender equality. [1]
  • In Germany, parental leave increased from 3% to 30% after legal reforms promoting paternity leave. [12]
  • These reforms have increased favorable attitudes towards female employment by 13%. [12]
  • Countries with more than 6 weeks of paid paternity leaves record a 3.7% smaller labor force participation gap than other countries. [2]
  • Research shows that countries with more than 6 weeks of paid paternity leave had a 4% smaller gender wage gap compared to other countries. [2]

Which Countries Rank Highest for Paternity Leave?

Several countries are recognized for offering substantial paternity leave benefits.

These countries have earned recognition for their efforts in providing extensive and inclusive paternity leave options. 

Their policies are aimed at promoting parental involvement and fostering a healthy work-life balance.

  • On average, paid leave for men lasts almost 8 weeks among OECD member countries. [5]
  • 13 countries allocate 3 months or more for fathers, while Japan and Korea offer up to 12 months. [5]
  • In Norway, a 2-week paternity leave is complemented by shared parental leave between the father and mother. [8]
  • Fathers are entitled to 15 weeks of dedicated leave with full compensation and an additional 16 weeks that can be shared with the mother. [8]
  • Japan offers the 30 weeks fully compensated paternity leave, yet only 5.14% of fathers utilized it in 2017. [8]
  • Research indicates that France’s paternity leave had a minimal impact, resulting in a mere 2% increase in fathers’ involvement in household tasks like cleaning and dishwashing. [8]
  • In the United States, the median duration of paternity leave stands at about 1 week, considerably shorter than the 11 weeks typically taken by mothers. [5]
  • Research indicates that nearly 30% of fathers in the UK didn’t take paternity leave due to insufficient  paternity leave rights. [2]
  • In 2022, over 17% of men in Japan opted to take paternity leave. [7]

FAQs

How long is paternity leave?

Paternity leave duration can vary significantly based on several factors, including the company’s policies, country-specific regulations, and individual agreements. In many places, it typically ranges from 5 days to 2 weeks. Some countries or progressive companies may offer longer periods, extending to several months.

Is paternity pay 100%?

Paternity pay rates vary widely with country, employer policies, and individual circumstances. In some cases, paternity pay may cover 100% of the father’s salary for a certain duration, but this isn’t universal.

Which country has the best paternity leave?

Scandinavian countries are known for their robust parental leave policies. They offerup to 480 days of parental leave per child, which can be shared between parents. This leave is paid at around 80% of their salary for a certain duration.

Is it illegal to not provide paternity leave?

Not all countries have legal mandates for paternity leave. In some places, paternity leave falls under discretionary or voluntary measures provided by employers or collective bargaining agreements rather than being enforced by law.

Conclusion

Currently, 70 countries offer paid paternity or shared parental leave. Over the past 10 years, 37 countries have introduced better paid leave specifically for fathers.

Paternity leave is becoming more popular, but in many areas, it is still not enough. 

The key issue is that it is considered less crucial compared to a mother’s role in parenting, which diminishes its importance.

Even when women work full-time, they often end up responsible for household chores and child-rearing, creating what sociologists call the “second shift.”

This results in gender inequality in the family sphere and eventually contributes to the widening wage gap.

Better paternity leave can reduce these differences.  

Moreover it leads to positive changes for children, affecting their social, emotional, cognitive growth, and overall health.

Sources

  1. World Bank. Four revealing graphs on paid family leave
  2. The Guardian. Measly’ paternity rights mean nearly a third of UK fathers take no leave – report
  3. TUC. 1 in 2 families struggle financially when dads take paternity leave – TUC poll
  4. World Bank. Does paternity leave matter for female employment in developing economies evidence from data
  5.  New America. Gender Equality
  6. Great Place To Work. How Competitive Is Your Company’s Paid Parental Leave?
  7. Statista. Percentage of men taking parental leave in Japan from 2013 to 2022
  8. Légifrance.fr. Paternity leave around the world: trends and consequences
  9. Pew Research Center. Americans Widely Support Paid Family and Medical Leave, but Differ Over Specific Policies
  10. Research Gate. Does Paternity Leave Affect Mothers’ Sickness Absence?
  11. NBER. Paid Family Leave, Fathers’ Leave-Taking, and Leave-Sharing in Dual-Earner Households
  12. IZA Institute of Labor Economics. Fathers, Parental Leave and Gender Norms

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