In the UK, new Dad’s are only entitled to 2 weeks Paternity leave. This is the standard in a lot of places around the world, but some countries lead by example, and I would love it if we followed suit.
Take Sweden, for example. New parents have an allowance of 240 days per working parent, to use between them. This means that if both parents are working, they have 480 days, with a minimum of 90 days each, and the rest shared between them however they see fit. These days can be used until the child is 8 years old. This means that Mum and Dad could take a minimum of 3 months each at the same time, or one parent take more than the other, or even alternate their leave, whatever best suits their family. Not only that, but if only one parent is working they still get that 240 day allowance, meaning new families get to be just that, a family.
But we live in the UK, so it’s pointless dwelling on that. I booked my 2 weeks leave to coincide with our expected due date, and I put in an additional week as annual leave when my Paternity was due to end. But then Matilda made her debut 2 weeks early, so my plan of spending a continuous 3 weeks at home went out the window.
My 2 weeks expired on 29th December, but after Jess‘s surgery, she hadn’t recovered enough to look after a baby alone all day, and the restrictions due to the pandemic meant that getting help was a little bit more difficult. I couldn’t go back to work yet, my family needed me, so I arranged an additional 3 days off with my work. Fortunately, they were incredibly understanding, and the way the weekend and Bank Holidays fell meant I actually got another 6 days.
I returned to work in the new year, but it was only a week until my scheduled annual leave, so it wasn’t so bad. And in no time at all, my extra week came and went. I was grateful for it though, because it allowed me to share precious bonding time with our daughter, but also allowed Jess the occasional break she deserved. I was sad to be returning to work, as I had no more scheduled time off, other than weekends, but little did I know that something was around the corner that would allow me to spend a lot more time with my family.