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Letter: Fathers of families

Sir: In " Why fathers should have their day" (6 November) Jack O'Sullivan does not mention the opportunity presented to the Government by the requirement to legislate on parental leave by the end of 1999.

Under a European Union directive, the UK must, as a minimum, give each parent the right to three months unpaid leave on the birth or adoption of a child. All other 14 European Union countries have, or will have by the end of 1998, such legislation in place and nine of them provide some form of pay. The results of a survey carried out by New Ways to Work in all other EU countries indicate that for this leave to be taken by fathers as well as mothers at least some of it will need to be paid and only available to be taken by the father. In Sweden, where parental leave has been available since 1978, at least one month must be taken by each parent, otherwise it is lost



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