Fathers miss out on paternity leave

Published: Friday 6th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Two out of five new fathers will not qualify for new rights to shared parental leave, mainly because their partner is not in paid work, according to a new report.

The TUC said it welcomed new measures from April allowing mothers to share up to 50 weeks of their maternity leave and 37 weeks of their pay, but voiced concerns that it will have a “very limited” impact.

A study by the union organisation showed that 40% of new fathers with a child under the age of one would be ineligible, mainly because their partner did not have a paid job.

The TUC said shared parental leave would be open to around 200,000 more fathers each year if their rights to take leave were not dependent on the mother being in work.

General secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Shared parental leave is a welcome move but just a small step towards getting dads more involved in their children’s upbringing.

“The UK is still decades behind other European countries when it comes to rights and financial support for new fathers.

“If politicians are serious about men playing a more active role after their child is born, they must increase statutory paternity pay and look at introducing some father-only leave that isn’t dependent on their partner being in work.

“Employers must also work more closely with unions, who often secure better paternity rights for dads.”

Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson said: “Around 285,000 working couples can take Shared Parental Leave for babies due from April 5 2015. Parents and adoptive couples where one has been employed for at least the last six months and the other is, or has recently been, employed or self-employed are eligible under the current scheme.

“I’m delighted that the TUC is so supportive of Shared Parental Leave coming into force that they want to see it extended further. We look forward to working with them to help drive uptake and support the behaviour change that countries like Norway and Denmark have already seen.”

A Liberal Democrat spokesman added: “In a future Liberal Democrat Government, we would seek to go further by providing a ‘Daddy month’ of use-it-or-lose-it paternity leave – to incentivise fathers to take time off after their baby is born.”

Published: Friday 6th February 2015 by The News Editor

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