Some of UK’s most generous universities are paying mums over 60 times more when they take parental leave, than some dads are being paid, according to research by the University and College Union (UCU).
The maternity pay for a full-time lecturer on £31,645 a year, for example, ranges from £7,864 which is paid at 34 universities, to £17,619 paid at Oxford, Manchester and Birbeck universities. This top rate of maternity pay is 64 times more than the derisory £276.28 offered to dads working at the 10 least generous universities in the UK.
Even the most generous university for dads, which according to the UCU data is Queen’s University Belfast, only offers new fathers three weeks’ leave on full pay, a deal worth about £1,825.50 for a lecturer on £31,645 a year. This figure is over four times less than the lowest maternity pay on offer at universities and nearly ten times less than the highest maternity pay.
According to a spokesman for the Universities and Colleges Employers Association, this pattern may well be repeated across the public sector. In an interview with the Times Higher Education he said:
“Policies found in universities are in line with other major sectors, such as the NHS (two weeks’ full pay) and local government, including school teachers, which usually offer one week at full pay and one week at the statutory rate
Sally Hunt, UCU general secretary, said that flexible and paid leave for dads is vital to help them to participate in their children’s upbringing, which research shows benefits child development and women’s working lives.
“Institutions should recognise the benefits of shared parenting by ensuring partners get adequate paid leave to participate in the early years of their children’s lives,” she told the Times Higher Education.
—Picture: Flickr/Nina Matthews