Employers are increasingly finding ways to meet the needs of working fathers, offering them family leave, flexible scheduling, and affordable child care options. But fathers remain reluctant to take full advantage of this support, despite professing to want to be equal partners with mothers in child care, with all the diapering, meal planning, and carpooling that entails. In our research on family leave policies and parenting culture in Scotland, we heard repeatedly that fathers felt worried and even embarrassed to use offered leave and flexible working entitlements.
Our analysis estimates that about 78% of Scottish fathers take some leave after the birth of a child, but only 18% take more than a couple of weeks. And that means 22% do not take any time at all. Low-income fathers are even less likely to take meaningful time off, fearing how deeply unpaid or reduced-pay time off would impact