New paternity leave rights?
25 July 2019 by Sarah Shea
Amidst the current political changes in play, the Government is embarking on widespread reform of the benefits available to new working parents with paternity pay and leave being discussed as set for an increase.
As things stand, mothers and fathers can split up to 50 weeks of parental leave between them, with up to 37 weeks of that paid at £148.68 a week. Another option available is for fathers to take unpaid leave subject to employer’s consent being granted. This has not proven to be popular and it is reported by statisticians that only 4% of new parents used the scheme.
New fathers are entitled to 10 days’ ‘ordinary paternity leave’ which must be taken within 56 days of the birth. Those 10 days are paid at the flat rate of £148.68 or 90% of the employee’s weekly pay, whichever is lower.
Recent government proposals include that new fathers could soon receive 90% of their weekly pay for the first four weeks of their leave. The remaining eight weeks would then be paid at the flat rate of £148.68, or 90% of their weekly pay, whichever is lower. This 12 weeks period of paternity leave would be available on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis which, it is hoped, will encourage new fathers to be actively involved in the formative stages after the birth of their child.
The above proposals are still being discussed due to the impact that implementation could have on small to medium sized firms, which may need time to adjust. The Government does not want to overly burden commerce and there are calls for the proposals to be properly consulted on.
In an industrious society it is becoming an actively pursued premise that new fathers should be able to set aside time to spend with new born children, in addition to supporting new mothers following the birth. The proposals are therefore likely to be welcomed by individuals to allow fathers the time they need, without being overburdened by potentially conflicting economic concerns over pay.
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