Paternity leave and pay ‘should be doubled’ (UK)

The Guardian 15 June 2014
Statutory paternity leave should be twice as long and paid at almost twice the present rate to encourage more fathers to spend time with their newborn children, a thinktank has said.

The proposal is one of a number to be unveiled by the centre-left thinktank the IPPR in what is being billed as a groundbreaking report, The Condition of Britain, designed to examine the social issues that have left Britain fractured.

The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, will launch the report on Thursday, endorsing its themes, but will not embrace all its proposals.

The IPPR proposes that fathers should automatically qualify for four weeks’ leave after the birth, paid at the minimum wage.

The cost to the taxpayer is likely to be £150m in 2015-16 and it would ensure that up to 400,000 fathers each year got at least £252.40 a week.

The thinktank said one of the main reasons only 55% took off the available fortnight was because they felt they could not afford the loss of pay. Under existing rules fathers qualify for a statutory £138.18 a week, equivalent to £3.45 an hour for a 40-hour week, with employers encouraged to make up the shortfall.