Paid leave would save pounds 600m

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The Independent Online
Providing three months' paid leave for parents when a baby is born would save the Government pounds 600m, while the cost would be much lower than expected, a report by the Demos think-tank claims.

A Demos report draws on the most detailed analysis yet of parental leave, including a MORI survey, a poll of 300 employers and comparison of parental leave around the world.

With a high take-up rate, Demos calculates that the Government would save nearly pounds 300m in income support payments, as well as gaining nearly pounds 300m in additional taxation.

Less than 3 per cent of British employers currently offer even a limited scheme of parental leave, although three-quarters believe it would help them attract and retain senior female managers and six out of 10 believe it would help increase staff loyalty.

In addition, more than half the public believe parental leave would strengthen families, and 44 per cent feel that it would promote an active role for fathers in parenting.

While only a fifth of working people under 40 would be willing to take parental leave if it was funded by themselves, more than six out of 10 feel secure enough in their jobs to take paid parental leave, were it on offer.