The majority of men in the EU know they have a right to parental leave but are not taking it up, according to a new survey by Eurobarometer, who conduct public opinion surveys on behalf of the European Commission. In the survey 75% of father knew of the right but of those only 16% had taken the leave or intended to.
The main factors deterring fathers from staying at home to look after a new baby or a small child were:
- Financial (18% said they had not or would not take parental leave because they could not afford to while 42% of a separate survey said insufficient financial compensation was the main factor that discouraged them from taking parental leave.)
- Lack of information (Although the EU directive on parental leave was passed in 1996, 34% said they did not have enough information about parental leave.)
- Concerns about their careers (31% said they felt their careers would be affected and just over one in five said they did not want to interrupt their careers.)
- Concerns over quality of life (10% feared that ‘they would be stuck at home and have less social life’.)
Under Directive 96/34/EC which is based on an EU-wide agreement between management and labour, men and women are entitled to at least three months parental leave to care for a new-born baby or a newly-adopted child, or to care for a child up to the age of eight.