Paternity leave rights to be extended

Fathers would be able to take up to six months' paternity leave - three paid - under Government proposals to allow parents to share entitlements, it was announced today.





The new right, due to come into force from 2011, would apply during the second half of a baby's first year if the mother returned to the workplace.

But the Government conceded that take-up was likely to be low, with less than one in 16 fathers expected to leave work for a period of full-time childcare.

At present dads are entitled to two weeks' paid leave and mothers to 52, 39 of them paid.

The move was hailed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown in his speech to the TUC in Liverpool.

"No Tory government has ever given a single day of paternity leave. This Labour government gave men the right to two weeks' paternity leave," he told trade unionists.

"Now, from April 2011, we will give fathers the right to take up to three months' additional paid paternity leave during the second six months of a child's life, if the mother has returned to work, because Labour believes in giving couples more freedom, dads more rights and children more time with the two people who love them most."

Extended paternity rights were promised in Labour's 2005 general election manifesto alongside a "goal" to extend paid maternity leave to a full year.

Mr Brown said Labour "retain our ambition" to that move although it was not included in today's proposals, which will now go out to consultation.

Business Minister Pat McFadden said the impact on businesses would be small, affecting less than 1 per cent of small firms.

"We will work with business to make sure any changes are introduced in a way that minimises burdens and gives them predictability in the provision of leave," he said.

"As family-friendly policies have been introduced we have seen more retention of mothers in their current jobs when they go back to work."

Harriet Harman, Minister for Women and Equality, said: "This gives families radically more choice and flexibility in how they balance work and care of children, and enables fathers to play a bigger part in bringing up their children."

The rights will apply to parents of children due on or after April 3, 2011. Estimated take-up is less than 6 per cent.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Order Processing and Sales Administrator

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have worked within the...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company provides mortgages, savings and i...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee / Qualified SAP Energy Assessor

£14000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a well-respecte...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Consultant - OTE £35,000

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to sell somethin...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen