The Split Paternity Scheme, MojoDad View
So, last week saw the move to split 50 weeks of paternity leave between mums and dads pass through parliament. Not to get all political on you, it was one thing I was rooting for Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats to be heard on. Despite the Tories trying to ‘water down’ the plans the legislation was passed so that from April 2015, working parents will have the right to divide the statutory 50 weeks of parental leave between them..
The news won’t come as a victory for all, with a lot of small businesses that feel they will wear the burden of these latest plans. For me, to quote Mr Clegg, it is the end of Edwardian times, a step in the direction of finishing the stereotype that a mother is the one who stays at home with her children.
I read in a recent article from the Telegraph that suggests that most fathers don’t want shared parental leave. According to their sources, three quarters of British men surveyed, oppose sharing parental leave equally. I’m not sure what men they were surveying exactly that would suggest most oppose it, however I understand some men will be concerned about taking longer periods away from work. Men wont want to be looked at negatively by their employers, so I can see it taking some years before full advantage is taken by males. In my view I feel this is a brilliant step, it gives couples more flexibility. It gives us as fathers time to be more involved in those very important first days; remembering myself how I felt with my first son, I felt guilty leaving to go to work after only two weeks off. It’s scary for a mother when she is left alone for the first time, I never thought two weeks of paternity was enough. Another point to make, in this day in age it is not uncommon for women to be the higher earner in the relationship, therefore (as bringing up children is expensive) as a couple you may feel it more financially beneficial for the woman to go back to work sooner. Most of all having this scheme come into effect will banish a lot of sexism faced by women in the workplace.
For the benefit of those that don’t know too much about the scheme I have listed a couple of key facts:
– The scheme will come into effect for babies due on or after 5th April 2015, or adoptions where the child is matched or placed on or after April 5th.
– Pregnant women will continue to have access to 52 weeks of maternity leave and 39 weeks of pay.
– Under the new scheme, working couples will be able to share maternity leave and pay that has not been taken.
– There will be a compulsory two week maternity leave to allow mothers to recover (physically) from the birth.
– The Pattern of leave must be agreed between the employer and employee, with 8 weeks notice.
Written by MojoDad Jim, author, husband and father of two
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