EOC claims paternity leave is becoming more popular

Paternity leave is becoming increasingly popular across the UK, according to the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC).

Four in five fathers, in families where both partners have professional jobs, take at least two weeks off after their baby is born, the commission said. But this figure falls to three in five in low income families.

Jenny Watson, EOC chairwoman, said the amount of time that fathers spend with their children has increased eight-fold in the past three decades.

The new Work and Families Bill, currently going through parliament, would also have a positive effect, Watson said.

“New proposals allow fathers to take up to six months’ paid leave if their partner returns to work early,” she said. “This will further benefit families, and offer more choice in who looks after the baby.”

Watson said fathers from low-income families would benefit most from the Work and Families Bill.

“Dads on lower incomes are particularly keen to use this new leave, and it’s important that it be implemented as soon as possible.”

However, a spokesman for the campaign group UK Fathers, said that parents were being coerced back to work too quickly.

“Society in the UK has a long way to go,” he said. “The problem is that the government is opening childcare centres across the country, and trying to force mothers back to work.”

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