Ministers rumoured to be considering an expansion to paternity leave
New dads could be set for a huge paternity leave boost.
At Dadzclub we want to see greater equality for both mums and dads when it comes to parental leave; at a time when gender based equality in the workplace is big on the agenda; men’s parental leave needs to be a part of that discussion in order to allow fathers to play more of a role with their families without fear of work based parental discrimination.
Dadzclub has long campaigned for dads to be given a paternity leave that is equal to that of maternity leave and recent developments could indicate a step in the right direction.
Prime Minister Theresa May is rumoured to be looking towards new dads to help secure her political legacy by looking at a scheme that would increase paid paternity leave from two to 12 weeks. These proposed new rules are rumoured to be part of her plan to push through landmark legislation before she leaves.
Under the new proposals men would get four weeks of paternity leave paid at 90% of their salary. They would then have the option to take another 8 weeks paid at the statutory rate of £148.68.
Currently fathers are entitled to just two weeks at the lower rate. They can then choose to take up Shared Parental Leave by splitting up to 50 weeks off with their partner. However that chunk of leave is only paid at the statutory rate making it unaffordable for many. Uptake of Shared Parental Leave has been low. Estimates vary but it’s believed to be around 1-5% of eligible dads.
It’s been suggested that the new rules could be brought in as a replacement for Shared Parental Leave. However Downing Street insists reports of a change in the law are only speculation at this stage.
Whilst a welcome step in the right direction we at Dadzclub feel this legislation could go further still and offer fathers Paternity Leave paid at 90% of their salary for 6 weeks then the option of a further 6 weeks at the lower rate of £148.68.
In Denmark, 90% of dads take more than a fortnight’s leave. Research suggests that enabling fathers to look after their newborn children has positive knock-on effects.
What are the benefits of paternity leave?
First, fathers who take paternity leave are more likely to take an active role in child-care tasks. According to a study of four rich countries – America, Australia, Britain and Denmark – fathers who had taken paternity leave were more likely to feed, dress, bathe and play with their child long after the period of leave had ended. Danish men were the most diligent. Seventy-seven per cent of them play with their children. And, in Britain, dads who took time off at birth were almost a third more likely to read books with their toddlers than those who hadn’t.
Studies show that involved dads raise happier and healthier children, who have improved learning outcomes. Some people think that only mothers are naturally equipped to care for children, but fathers are just as capable of developing these neural pathways.
To create a society where equality thrives, we first need equality in a home environment. We will never achieve that while our legislation favours only mothers caring for their offspring over fathers.
For years the priority for women’s’ rights campaigners has been to increase the provision of maternity leave. These days, more and more governments around the world are starting to believe that the best way to improve women’s career prospects is instead to turn to the dads.
It’s time for Britain to catch up!