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New Dads to Get a Paid Month off Work?

It’s been reported that there are plans to give new fathers the statutory right to four weeks’ paid leave in the first year of their child’s life. Do you need to be concerned about this latest family-friendly idea?

That’s unbelievable. A number of media outlets recently reported on the Deputy Prime Minister’s “radical plans” to grant all new fathers the statutory right to four weeks’ paid paternity leave. Apparently, this “Daddy Month”, as it’s been branded, would be made available to them in the first twelve months of their child’s life and is designed to promote the role of fathers in childcare by giving them a much greater work/life balance. This is clearly not something that employers want to hear, but do you really need to worry about it?

Slim chance. Although the media reports played on the fact that these comments were made publicly by Nick Clegg, many didn’t make clear that he wasn’t speaking on behalf of the current coalition government. The Daddy Month is a proposal by the Liberal Democrats only, who believe that it will win them a large number of votes at the next general election, which is just over 18 months away. As it stands, the plans have no major support and, even if there’s another coalition government next time around, it’s incompatible with current plans to reduce the regulatory burden on employers. So you can safely ignore any hype as the chances of anything happening are fairly remote.

Current entitlement. At the moment, new fathers who qualify may take up to two weeks’ ordinary paternity leave which must be completed within 56 days of the child’s birth. For 2013/14, this is paid at the statutory rate of £136.78 p.w. They may also take up to 26 weeks’ additional paternity leave (APL) from the 20th week of the child’s life, the full details of which are set out in our detailed paternity policy (see The next step ). However, recent research shows less than 1% of new fathers actually take APL, so it’s possible that any form of enhanced rights for fathers would prove just as unpopular.

Don’t panic – this is a Liberal Democrat proposal designed to win them votes at the next election. It doesn’t have any firm support and, in any event, research shows that enhanced paternity rights are unpopular with fathers.

Call Adrian at Berkeley Solicitors for further details or advice 0161-371 0011

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