Mental and emotional distress for dads: return to work or look after child

Paternity leave seems to be missing the mark, with just under three quarters of dads saying they suffer either mentally or emotionally after the birth of their child and juggling the demands of returning to work.

Research from Zurich, the Swiss insurance company has revealed that 72 per cent of dads agree somewhat or strongly they have to deal with emotional and mental trauma along with the demands of returning to work once their child is born.

This is made worse by 40 per cent of dads saying that they feel that they did not spend enough time with their newborns before returning to work.

Just under half (49 per cent) say they took 11-14 days statutory paternity leave, 30 per cent only took 4-10 days and 15 per cent said they took no time off at all.

Out of those that did not take paternity leave, 45 per cent said they did so because they could not afford to and 23 per cent said it was down to a heavy workload.

In an ideal world, 67 per cent of dads said they would like to take at least 20 weeks paternity leave and 25 per cent who would take over 21 weeks.

The majority of dads (77 per cent) would be more than happy to take 16 weeks paid paternity leave if their company offered it.

This follows a government consultation called ‘Good Work Plan: Proposals to support families’ which intends to improve parental leave entitlements for fathers and partners and for employers to be more transparent about their family related leave and pay policies.

Zurich is offering 16 weeks full-pay for all parents to support families of employees.

Steve Collinson, Zurich’s head of HR said:

It comes as no surprise that the vast majority of fathers we’ve surveyed do not feel they’re getting the precious time they need to bond with their new families. The current deal for most dads, ultimately impacts both parents and seems outdated given the shifts we’re seeing in family make-up and the roles we play.

Justin Tomlinson, MP for North Swindon and minister for disabled people, health and work, said:

Zurich’s equalisation of maternity and paternity leave and broader approach to family friendly working is an excellent example of a big UK employer leading the way.  Working practices like these help to support gender equality and create more diverse and inclusive workplaces.

Zurich asked 1,000 respondents to gather this data through OnePoll, a survey-led marketing research company.





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.