Half of employers support extension of statutory paternity rights

paternityNew data from the CIPD suggests that almost half of organisations support extending statutory paternity/partner leave and pay, with 29 percent of those backing an extension to either six weeks or more. In response, the CIPD is urging the Government to increase statutory paternity/partner leave to six weeks, either at or near the full rate of pay, to help families balance caring responsibilities and provide more financial support for working parents. Currently, under statutory paternity leave, employees can choose to take either one or two consecutive weeks’ leave if they have been employed for at least 26 weeks. Statutory paternity pay for eligible employees is currently either £156.66 a week or 90 percent of their average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.

The CIPD surveyed 2,000 senior decision-makers and found that:

  • Almost half (46%) of employers support extending statutory paternity/partner leave and pay. A third (33%) of those believe this should be extended to four weeks, and 29% think it should be extended to either six weeks or more.
  • Most organisations (49%) have a paternity/partner leave policy which provides the current statutory leave entitlement and pay.
  • Over a third (34%) of employers in England say the introduction of 30 hours free childcare per week for all three to four-year-olds in 2017 has made a positive impact on the number of women returning to work.
  • Over half (56%) of employers in England believe the number of women with young children returning to work would improve further if the same level of free childcare was extended to children aged under two years old.

According to the CIPD, the findings also highlight that very few new parents are using shared parental leave; 85% of organisations say no new fathers/partners have taken up shared parental leave in the past two years. Shared parental leave allows a portion of maternity leave and pay to be shared with partners and was introduced in 2015 to give parents greater flexibility in how they care for their child.

In addition, the CIPD is calling on the Government to provide affordable childcare from the end of maternity leave and to make flexible working requests a day one right.