Under the plans, new fathers would receive 90 per cent of their salary for the first four weeks of their paternity leave. This would be a dramatic increase on the current two weeks' statutory allowance of £148 per week or 90% of usual pay, whichever is lower.
The policy is not yet final
Discussions are continuing with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy over the impact on employers, especially for staff on high pay.
We are very pleased to see parental leave is among the projects Theresa May is putting energy into in this final phase of her leadership. In 2018, we were very much in agreement with the proposals of the Women and Equalities Committee and the way these favoured a use-it-or-lose it Scandinavian model of paternity / partner leave.
In our own recent Parental Leave Benchmark, we ranked different employers' offerings on the basis of pay for fathers / partners as well as mothers / primary adopters since we believe a more gender-inclusive model of parenting is the way ahead.
Enhancing paternity pay for 2 weeks is already favoured by 43% of those completing the benchmark and offering 4 weeks fully paid leave is an increasingly popular choice too. It would clearly be a win-win for employers and employees if statutory provisions extended to include this, meaning most employers could reclaim 92% of that from HMRC.
Shared leave and fathers/partners support
Shared parental leave has been a game changer in terms of advancing the conversations about shared care and we continue to support and advocate its use and the way it promotes choice as to how couples of all kinds share care.
Alongside this, some ring-fenced leave for fathers or partners would be a big step forward, particularly in the way it would encourage and enable more families to take that formative first month off together. For employers, having the dad or partner out for a little longer will pay dividends in terms of employee engagement longer term.