The PA­TER­NITY PENALTY

Dads in the UK get the equiv­a­lent of fewer than three days pa­ter­nity leave at full pay

Derby Telegraph - - NEWS GRAPHIC - By ALICE CACHIA

NEW fa­thers in the UK have some of the worst pa­ter­nity leave in the de­vel­oped world.

Un­der cur­rent rules, dads re­ceive up to two weeks’ leave at a rate pay of ei­ther £145.18 a week or

90% of weekly earn­ings which­ever is lower.

That is the equiv­a­lent of 2.8 days (or 0.4 weeks) of full pay at the av­er­age wage.

Mums, on the other hand, are en­ti­tled to a ma­ter­nity al­lowance of

39 weeks in to­tal.

They get 90 per cent of their weekly earn­ings for the first six weeks, and the amount is re­stricted af­ter that.

Data from the Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Eco­nomic Co-op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment shows that, for the 26 coun­tries for which data is avail­able, Por­tu­gal of­fers new dads the best deal. Fa­thers there can take up to five weeks off at the full rate of pay. Lithua­nia, where new dads can take four weeks of pa­ter­nity leave at full pay, is sec­ond. The coun­tries are ranked by full­rate equiv­a­lent pay. For ex­am­ple, fa­thers in Slove­nia are al­lowed 2.9 weeks off work at 90% of their usual earn­ings - mean­ing their full­rate pay equiv­a­lent is in fact 2.6 weeks.

Spain is be­hind with 2.1 weeks, fol­lowed by Poland and Fin­land, at two weeks each re­spec­tively.

The data shows that the UK has the joint sec­ond-worst rate of paid pa­ter­nity leave along­side the Nether­lands, Lux­em­bourg, Italy and Greece.

For UK fa­thers want­ing to spend more time with their new­born, there is a scheme called Shared Parental Leave (SPL).

It first came into force in 2015, alow­ing el­i­gi­ble par­ents to share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay.

But re­search con­ducted by law firm EMW sug­gests that only 8,700 cou­ples took ad­van­tage of the scheme dur­ing 2016/2017.

EMW cal­cu­lated that was 1% of el­i­gi­ble cou­ples while the De­part­ment for Busi­ness said it was around 3% of those el­i­gi­ble.

A spokesper­son for Work­ing Fam­i­lies, a char­ity that pro­motes bet­ter work-life bal­ance, said: “There is a clear ap­petite among fa­thers – par­tic­u­larly mil­len­nial fa­thers – to share care of their chil­dren.

“SPL is the best op­tion for fa­thers that want to spend longer than two weeks with their child in its first year. But statu­tory ma­ter­nity pay and shared parental pay are not equal.

“The govern­ment should con­sider equal­is­ing shared parental pay and with statu­tory ma­ter­nity pay to pre­vent SPL be­ing a sec­ond-class op­tion and en­cour­age more fa­thers to use it. “Work­ing Fam­i­lies is call­ing on the govern­ment to in­tro­duce a prop­erly paid pe­riod of stand­alone, use it or lose it leave for fa­thers that isn’t con­di­tional on their part­ner’s em­ploy­ment sta­tus, and that can be taken any time dur­ing their baby’s first year.”

Ex­perts say the govern­ment should in­tro­duce a “prop­erly paid” pe­riod of pa­ter­nity leave for dads

Shared parental leave lets mums and dads share up to 50 weeks off work to care for their baby

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