MPs call for improved parental leave
New fathers should be given the chance to take three months’ leave on the first year after a child is born, MPs have said.
The Women and Equalities committee called for ministers to look at giving new dads the option of 12 weeks off to try and encourage greater involvement in the early years of children.
The committee say while ministers’ had shown “good intentions” in introducing shared parental leave - which allows both parents to collectively take up to 50 weeks of leave on top of other conditions – “outdated” assumptions remained a barrier.
They also suggest upping statutory paternity pay to 90 per cent of the father’s pay rather than the current system which pays the lower of either £140.98 per week or 90 per cent of their salary.
And the report calls for paternity pay to be a right for all employees, whereas now fathers must have worked continuously in their job for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the child is due.
Committee chairwoman Maria Miller said: “The evidence is clear - an increasing number of fathers want to take a more equal share of childcare when their children are young, but current policies do not support them in doing so.
“There is a historical lack of support for men in this area, and negative cultural assumptions about gender roles persist.
“While the Government has taken positive steps forwards and has good intentions, workplace policies have not kept up with the social changes in people’s everyday lives.
“Outdated assumptions about men’s and women’s roles in relation to work and childcare are a further barrier to change."
Miller added that the move would allow for boost gender equality "both at work and at home"
“Effective policies around statutory paternity pay, parental leave and flexible working are all vital if we are to meet the needs of families and tackle the gender pay gap," she added.