Press Releases and Research


  • 3 in 5 fathers (63.7%) took two weeks or less paternity leave following the birth of their most recent child
  • Less than a third (29%) of fathers reported being able to access enhanced paternity leave pay around the birth of their most recent child
  • Half (48.3%) of fathers who had access to enhanced paternity pay were still only able to take two weeks or less of paternity leave

DATE: 8th March 2024; New research from Pregnant Then Screwed, in partnership with Women In Data® has revealed that 70.6% of fathers who only used part of their paternity leave entitlement revealed that it was because they couldn’t afford to stay off any longer. 

Pregnant Then Screwed surveyed 35,800 parents. Women In Data® then extracted a nationally representative sample of 5,870 parents to create a 2024 State of the Nation report. The research is looking at paternity leave uptake in the UK and the barriers that dads are facing in accessing enhanced paternity leave and being able to afford to take their full entitlement. Following the changes in paternity leave law which will come into effect today. 

The Paternity Leave Amendment Regulations 2024 will enable Dads and partners of children born or adopted after the 6th of April to split paternity leave into two one-week blocks instead of having to take it in one two-week block. However, the legislative changes face heavy criticism from campaigning groups for not addressing the overall low rate of statutory paternity pay or increasing the overall length of time Dads and partners can spend with their new arrival. Pregnant Then Screwed is calling for Paternity Leave to be increased to 6 weeks paid at 90% of salary. 

The new research has found that just 3 in 5 fathers (63.7%) took two weeks or less paternity leave following the birth of their most recent child. When looking at the use of enhanced paternity leave through employer benefit schemes, less than a third (29%) of fathers could access enhanced paternity pay around the birth of their most recent child. Dropping to 1 in 5 for fathers in households with household income under £60,000.

Accessing enhanced leave and being able to take this leave are two very different things – in fact, half (48.3%) of fathers who had access to enhanced paternity pay were still only able to take two weeks or less of paternity leave.

The UK has the least generous paternity leave entitlement in Europe. Currently, the statutory entitlement to paternity leave is two weeks, and the weekly rate for paternity pay is £172.48 a week or 90% of your salary (whichever is lower). 

Joeli Brearley CEO and Founder of Pregnant Then Screwed comments, “Paternity leave isn’t a break from work, it isn’t a holiday – it is crucial bonding time. We know that paternity leave has huge benefits for the whole family: children do better in the education system, and there is research to suggest they have better physical health. Paternity leave reduces the divorce rate – couples are more likely to stay together. It has benefits for the physical and mental health of mothers, and we know that many dads are desperate to spend more time with their children. When fathers and partners take paternity leave, it supports the mother’s return to the labour market. We need a parental leave system which recognises and supports the crucial role dads play in families.”

Just 32.3% of fathers who took two weeks or less paternity leave said they were ready to return to work physically after their paternity leave, 14% said they were ready to return mentally and 12.8% said they were ready to return emotionally.

Joeli Brearley, CEO and founder of Pregnant Then Screwed continues,  We know what works because there is plenty of evidence from other countries who are leading the way. Paternity leave needs to be ring-fenced and paid at a rate where families can afford to take it. That is why we are calling for 6 weeks paternity leave paid at 90% of salary.’’ 

In response to the notion that Dads and partners are able to access the Shared Parental Leave scheme should they wish to spend longer with their new children Joeli adds, “Shared Parental Leave has failed on almost every measure set by the Government. In addition, the scheme is fundamentally flawed. It is not shared parental leave at all, it is shared maternity leave. It requires a mother to give away a portion of her leave to her partner and understandably most mothers don’t want to do that. But also, in the majority of families where there is a mother and a father, the man earns the most, so removing his income and replacing it with just £172.48 statutory pay a week would have disastrous consequences for the whole family.’’

A 2023 report from Pregnant Then Screwed, The Centre for Progressive Policy (CPP) and Women in Data® on the societal and economic impact of paternity leave found that increasing paid paternity leave to six weeks could reduce the gender pay gap and help to equalise men and women’s participation in the labour market. The report presented the economic case for tackling gender inequality as strong, with analysis suggesting that closing gender employment gaps could increase economic output by £23 billion.

Additional 2023 YouGov polling commissioned by Pregnant Then Screwed and CPP found that just 18% of Brits think 2 weeks or less paternity leave is enough. 




Notes to Editor:

For all media enquiries please contact:

[email protected]

Tel: 07756 525 004


About the research:

This research was commissioned by Pregnant Then Screwed.

Survey design, weighting and survey analysis powered and executed by the Women in Data® team led by Taisiya Merkulova. 

A final sample of 5,870 respondents was randomly selected from a pool of 35,800 survey respondents. The sample is nationally representative across the UK population along gender, region, social grade and ethnicity. Weighting is based on the latest census and population estimations published by the ONS, NISRA and NRS.


About Pregnant Then Screwed: 

Pregnant Then Screwed is a charity that seeks to protect, support and promote the rights of pregnant women and mothers. We carry out extensive research into the effects of systemic cultural and institutional discrimination during pregnancy and motherhood. Our support services include: a free employment rights helpline, a free benefits advice clinic, a free mental health support line, pro bono legal advice and a tribunal mentor scheme that supports women who are considering legal action against their employer. We campaign for changes that will end the motherhood penalty and we support working mums to rebuild their confidence and find work that works for them.


About Women in Data:

Women in data® is a membership organisation whose mission is to achieve gender parity in the Data and Tech industries. Our objective is to create interventions to attract more female and gender diverse data professionals to the industry and then ensure they are retained to maximise their individual career potential.

Women in Data® together with our partners and the strength of our 60,000 plus community has a measurable, positive impact on pressing industry issues such as sector entry, career advancement, certification, role modelling, pay and inclusion.

Women in Data has become famous for its landmark annual events, which have grown in size and prestige year-on-year, as well as its year–round partner and member support, and its Twenty in Data and Technology annual spotlight on female trail-blazers and rising stars.

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