No new rights for fathers in the workplace, for now….
As we all know the take up of shared parental leave is, in most organisations, low due in part to its complexity.
In March this year, the Women and Equalities Committee published a report with a number of far reaching recommendations focused on improving the rights of fathers in the workplace.
It included a proposal that 12 weeks paternal leave and pay would replace shared parental leave. Fathers and second parents would be eligible for this leave in their own right; it would not affect mothers’ existing entitlements to maternity leave and pay and it would be paid at 90 per cent of salary for the first four weeks (with a cap for higher earners), and the remaining eight weeks paid at statutory levels. Such a proposal would involve substantial expense but could potentially simplify the process and may improve the take up rate of leave by fathers.
On 18 June 2018, the government published its response to the Report which stated that further consultation was needed before they could accept the Committee’s key recommendations. In particular, it identified the following next steps.
- The government will seek more views on paternity leave and pay in a forthcoming 2018 Maternity and Paternity Rights Survey.
- Regarding flexible working, a taskforce consisting of employer and employee reps has been created to develop an action plan to tackle the barriers and challenges around each stage of the employment lifecycle.
- Their views would feed into an evaluation of the right to request flexible working which is due in 2019.
So, it would seem that statutory change has for now, been parked in the long grass.
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