Parents decline family leave because of cost and career concerns

Fathers are less likely to take up parental leave. Photo:

More than a quarter of new parents do not use their right to take time off work to look after their children, new figures show.

Parents have been entitled to nine weeks’ absence from work since August 2022, but on average mothers take 6.9 weeks while fathers claim 6.2 weeks.

Financial concerns were the main reason for both men and women to forgo their allocation, research by Robidus, a subsidiary of insurance company a.s.r., found. Parents receive 70% of their regular salary during periods of leave.

Parents also said they were worried about the impact on their careers, especially fathers, who accounted for just one-third of all parental leave days.

Robidus also found that young parents were more likely to miss work because of stress-related illness. More than 65% of employees in the 25 to 35-year age group had time off sick last year, against an average of 58%.

A spokesman said many young parents struggled to find a balance between their responsibilities at home and at work.

“An employee can keep going until they drop, but that benefits nobody, neither their employer nor their budding family. Moreover, it’s the employer who ends up footing the bill.”

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