A staggering 24.8 million Brits believe the UK’s current Statutory Paternity Leave (SPL) policy, is ‘less than adequate’, new research has found.

A further 16.3 million also deem the UK’s Statutory Maternity Leave (SML) policy to be ‘less than adequate’ at present.

The study which was compiled by online printing specialists instaprint explored how Brits felt about the current maternity and paternity packages offered to them by the government. They surveyed 2,000 UK adults to find out more.


Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

The UK offers 52 weeks of SML to new mothers. Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is given for up to 39 weeks of leave, this consists of:

  • 90% of your average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first 6 weeks
  • £156.66 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks

Expecting dads can take up to two weeks of SPL which is paid at a rate of £156.66, or 90% percent of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower). Shared parental leave is also available to new parents who can receive pay for the first 39 weeks of this.

The UK’s Statutory Adoption Leave allows to 52 weeks off work, with some pay for 39 weeks.

According to the findings, four in ten of those surveyed (40%) said they believe the current renumeration packages for Statutory Maternity and Paternity Leave are less ‘less than adequate’.

Around a fifth more women than men believe the current SPL offering is ‘less than adequate’ (54% vs. 38%).

And around ten percent more women than men (35% vs 28%) also think the SML offering in the UK is not good enough in its current state.

A further third (33%) also feel the current pay offered under the Adoption Leave Policy is not sufficient, and one in five said the leave period was ‘less than adequate’ (22%).

At present, the UK’s Statutory Adoption Leave policy allows those adopting a child to enjoy up to 52 weeks off work, with some pay for 39 weeks – which is almost identical to that offered as part of the UK’s Maternity Leave Package.

When quizzed about the ‘work perks’ they would be willing to compromise on to access an enhanced maternity, paternity, or adoption leave package from their employer, many Brits were reluctant to swap out existing benefits.

Seven in ten (69%) admitted that a competitive salary was more attractive to them than an enhanced maternity, paternity, or adoption leave package.

Interestingly, more men consider an enhanced maternity, paternity, or adoption leave package (37%) a more valuable benefit from a current or prospective employer than women (26%).


Statutory Paternity Leave and private health care

Both a company car and private healthcare were found to be higher on the list of priorities in terms of value for 66 percent of Britons.

Just three in ten (31%) believe an enhanced maternity, paternity, or adoption leave package to be more valuable than a competitive annual leave allowance.

Two thirds (64%) of UK adults even shared they would value company away days in higher regard.

Less than a quarter of those surveyed (22%) said their company already offers a substantial number of employee perks and benefits, in addition to an enhanced maternity/paternity package.


Laura Mucklow, Head of instaprint commented on the findings:  

“It’s clear to see that not all countries are built equal when it comes to their government’s policies on maternity and paternity leave, with some countries offering no official policies at all versus others letting new parents over a year off to be with their child.

“And when you look at the variables such as available shared parental leave, the cost of living and childcare in each country, it’s obvious that some new parents may be better off than others.

“For those of us looking at starting a family, it may be appealing to head elsewhere and get the best financial support. But any would-be expats should investigate their chosen country’s policy closely before making the big move, as there may be specific conditions employees have to meet before they can get maternity or paternity leave so it’s worth doing your research before you take the leap!”





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.