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Extra paternity leave for fathers

Extra paternity leave for fathers

In their manifesto for the next general election, the Liberal Democrats will pledge to give fathers an extra four weeks’ paternity leave. Under the plans, first suggested in a policy paper last summer, the current allowance will be extended from two to six weeks.

Fathers would face the choice of using the time or losing it. They would not be able to share the six weeks with the mother. The proposal would extend total parental leave to 58 weeks.

The Party also revealed that the extra paternity leave would be paid at the same level as statutory maternity leave.

Working fathers rights to leave and pay

Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat Business and Equalities Minister, said the move was intended to “establish the important role for dads” early in a child’s life. The Party also said that international research has suggested that fathers’ use of parental leave is higher when they are given targeted or reserve leave, rather than simply making shared leave available.

“Extending paternity leave is an important next step to encouraging new dads to spend more time with their child in those vital early weeks and months after birth. When parents share caring responsibilities, more equality in the workplace will follow,” she explained.

“Most dads want to spend more time with their new baby, but can sometimes be discouraged by outdated ideas and cultural barriers in the workplace. The ‘use it or lose’ it six weeks will establish the important role of dads early on, and encourage couples to use the full flexibility on offer,” she added.

Businesses not impressed by new paternity leave proposals

The proposals were met with caution by the business community with the Federation of Small Businesses’ Mike Cherry warning that the “very unwelcome” proposal would create “uncertainty and complexity” for employers.

“It is far, far more difficult to find a replacement for a six-week period than it is for a two-week period,” he comments.

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