Nearly half of dads don’t take their fortnight of paternity leave following the birth of their baby, the Government’s equality watchdog has said. The most common reason is because they can’t afford to.

The fortnight of paternity leave, introduced in 2003, is at a rate of £123.06 a week. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has now called for paternity leave to be paid at 90% of the usual salary.

The Commission blamed fear of being seen as not committed to their career and risking their chances of promotion, as well as the financial constraints.

The survey also found that four out of 10 fathers say they don’t spend enough time with their children and half of them think they spend too much time at work.

“Fathers are telling us they want to take a more active role in shaping the lives of their children,” said Commission spokesman Andrea Murray.