Labour is promising voters it will double paid paternity leave to 4 weeks if it gets into power. New dads currently get 2 weeks off work if they meet certain conditions including length of time in their job. But Labour say only 55% of new dads currently take their full 2 weeks off because of financial pressures.
Ed Miliband has also announced a Labour government would increase the statutory paternity pay by more than £120 a week to £260 a week – equivalent to a 40-hour week on minimum wage.
The party says the extra pay and increased time will encourage new dads to use their full time off and that new dads spending a month at home with their baby will give children the ‘best start in life they can’.
“At the same time as women are under pressure in their careers, more fathers want to play a hands-on role in childcare, particularly in those first crucial weeks of a child’s life,” Ed Miliband explains. “Thanks to the last Labour government, fathers have two weeks’ paid paternity leave. Millions of families have benefited with parents saying this has helped them support each other, share caring responsibilities and bond with their children.
“But the money isn’t great and too many Dads don’t take up their rights because they feel they have to go back so they can provide for their family.”
But not everyone agrees… (well, it is politics)
The rise in paternity pay will be paid for by savings in tax credits – but the British Chambers of Commerce say the changes would amount to a “a tax on business”.
“Although well-meaning, proposals such as this create very real costs for businesses, which can in turn lead to reduced productivity, reduced growth and fewer jobs,” director general John Longworth argues. “Businesses have already had to absorb over half a dozen changes to parental leave in the last decade – with one, shared parental leave, not even fully in place yet. This constant instability raises costs for business and generates uncertainty when it comes to taking on new staff.”
Do you think having your partner home for a month when your baby is born would make a big difference? Is it practical? Let us know in the comments below.