Businesses urged to promote parental leave to working dads

Many fathers are unaware of the parental leave options available to them.

Research by Aviva in the UK shows: 

  • Half of working fathers haven’t heard of shared parental leave.
  • Nine out of 10 parents believe mums and dads should be given equal parental leave. 
  • Most fathers take less than a month off work when a child arrives.
  • One in 10 fathers took no time off work at the arrival of their most recent child.

Nearly half (46%) of working fathers are unaware they are entitled to take shared parental leave on the arrival of a child, according to new research. 

56% of fathers took less than a month off when their most recent child was born or adopted.

The survey, conducted by Aviva, also shows that one in 10 dads (11%) took no time off whatsoever when their most recent child arrived. Businesses are therefore being urged to do more to make sure their male staff know their rights, to enable them to spend precious time with their newborn or adopted children.

Crucially, the survey of UK parents with dependent children found that 86% of fathers would have taken more time off at the arrival of their children, but felt restricted by financial factors and employer constraints.

Many fathers feel overlooked and under-supported by their employer.
Sarah Morris, Chief People Officer, Aviva

Nine out of 10 parents questioned (93%) felt that employers should give both mums and dads equal parental leave when a new child arrives. 

But the majority of fathers (56%) took less than a month off work when their most recent child was born or adopted: the time taken by this group was typically 12 days. By comparison, mums took more than a year off work on average. 

The survey revealed that


of new dads would have taken longer off work if their employer had allowed it


of new dads would have only taken leave if it was paid


of new dads would have taken unpaid time away from work

Sarah Morris, Chief People Officer, Aviva, said: “Working and looking after children means a constant juggling act and it’s clear that many fathers feel overlooked and under-supported by their employer in this respect. Progress is being made, but our research suggests there’s still a way to go.

“Family-friendly working policies can offer huge benefits to employers and workers alike, whether this means extended parental leave, flexible working, or options for job shares. We hope to see more employers introducing inclusive policies for both men and women, to help working parents strike a balance and get the most out of their lives, inside and outside work.”

The Aviva research also found:

  • 52% of parents believed there should be more support from the government for equal parental leave, while 69% wanted greater assistance for flexible working.
  • When respondents were asked to rank the most important factors when looking for a role, flexible working came second only to salary.
  • The poll found an interest amongst parents for job-sharing options, although only 4% of dads questioned were doing a job-share, compared to 9% of mums.
  • A further 48% of parents said they would consider a job share, but of these, almost two thirds said their employer did not offer them.


*Survey carried out by Censuswide Research 18-30 May 2018, polling 1,000 fathers and 1,000 mothers with children aged 16 and under, across the UK. 

**Parental Leave:

Under the Government’s Shared Parental Leave regulation, parents can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay.

Aviva’s equal parental leave policy entitles male and female employees to 26 weeks each on full basic pay on the arrival of a child. Parents are entitled to 52 weeks of leave of which 26 weeks is paid. On their return, parents will receive support to enable them to adapt back into work and any requests for flexible working will be considered.


Aviva Press Office: Sarah Poulter
01904 452828 / 07800 691569

Notes to editors:

  • For information on how Aviva is helping our people, customers and communities impacted by COVID-19 visit: 
  • Aviva is a leading international savings, retirement and insurance business. We exist to be with people when it really matters, throughout their lives – to help them make the most of life. We have been taking care of people for more than 320 years, in line with our purpose of being ‘with you today, for a better tomorrow’.
  • Our vision is to earn our customers’ trust as the best place to save for the future, navigate retirement and insure what matters most to them. In 2019, we paid £33.2 billion in claims and benefits on behalf of our 33.4 million customers.
  • We will focus on the UK, Ireland and Canada where we have leading market positions and significant potential. We will invest for growth in these markets. Our International businesses in Europe and Asia will be managed for long-term shareholder value. We will also transform our performance and improve our efficiency. Our transformation will be underpinned by managing our balance sheet prudently, reducing debt and increasing our financial resilience.
  • Total group assets under management at Aviva group are £522 billion and our Solvency II capital surplus is £12.0 billion (HY20). Our shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and we are a member of the FTSE 100 index.
  • For more details on what we do, our business and how we help our customers, visit 
  • The Aviva newsroom at includes links to our image library, research reports and our news release archive. Sign up to get the latest news from Aviva by email.
  • You can follow us on Twitter:  
  • You can follow us on LinkedIn: 
  • For the latest corporate films from around our business, subscribe to our YouTube channel: 
  • We have a Globelynx system for broadcast interviews. Please contact the Press Officer noted above if you would like to make a booking.

Find out more about our research