Parental leave in the UK is unfair, anti-dad and not good for business, a new report from the independent think tank Reform has stated.
Dads have few rights when it comes to paternity leave. The report has shown that if paternity leave is taken, families are stronger and dads are more likely to read to their children, too.
Mums are also forced to choose between working or staying at home, the study says. Mums who want to stay in contact with their workplace without returning to full-time employment forfeit their maternity pay. Also, those in casual and lower skilled jobs get the least pay and the least amount of maternity leave. Mums on £50,000 a year who take six months maternity leave get almost £8,000 from the taxpayer. Mums on the minimum wage – that’s £12,000 a year – will get only £4,500 of taxpayers’ money.
Also discussed in the report, called “Productive Parents”, was the idea that professionals and managers often can rely on employer help and can afford time off, in a way that those in casual or low skilled work can’t.
So what does the Reform report suggest we do about the current maternity and paternity leave and pay situation? Amongst its recommendations are these ideas:
- Turn maternity pay into a flat rate ‘parental payment’ of £5,000, payable monthly and shared between mum and dad. This would work out at £192 a week, compared to the current basic statutory maternity pay of £123 per week.
- Give six months of unpaid leave to both mum and dad during the first year of their baby’s life. Mum and dad can take their leave at the same time or one after the other.
- Parents should get the parental payment, regardless of the length of leave they decide to take.
- Get rid of programmes seen as ‘gimmicks’, such as the health in pregnancy grant, the healthy start scheme and the employer supported childcare schemes, saving £275 million per year.
Would you like to see the current maternity and paternity leave situation revamped? What do you wish would happen? Let us know below…