Majority against equal leave rights for fathers

More
than half of businesses disagree with the Equal Opportunities Commission’s
appeal for better paid leave and more flexible working hours for fathers, a new
survey has found.

Fifty-four
per cent of HR professionals surveyed by consultants Croner do not think that a
father’s right to paternity leave should be made equal to maternity leave.

Legislation
introduced on 6 April 2003 entitles eligible new fathers to two weeks’ leave
with Statutory Paternity Pay (SMP), currently £102.80 per week.

Mothers
are entitled to up to 52 weeks of maternity leave with statutory maternity pay
(SMP) being payable for the first 26 weeks. SMP is payable at the rate of 90
per cent of the employee’s earnings for the first six weeks and then at the
lower rate of £102.80 for the remaining 20 weeks.

Although
46 per cent of respondents to the survey believe fathers should have the same
rights as mums, Croner is advising employers that the Government is unlikely to
extend paternity leave entitlement.

Additional
parental rights exist for staff with more than one year’s service and who have
parental responsibilities. They are entitled to unpaid parental leave of up to
13 weeks for each child under the age of five (this increases where the child
is disabled).

By
Quentin Reade

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