As it stands in the UK, if your partner is having a baby you will be entitled to the statutory maximum of 2 weeks paternity leave. Some individuals are also eligible to use the shared system of parental leave where up to 50 weeks of leave can be shared between both parents (up to 37 of these weeks can be paid). The current system makes it difficult for both parents to have a good amount of time off together and often it ends up unfairly discriminating against one parent.
However some may recall that recently, Aviva introduced a new scheme allowing all new parents to have the same amount of paid leave, meaning both parents would be able to have the same amount of time off to spend with their new born baby. This was a positive move and has had a great reception both from employees and the public.
Recently it has been announced that 02 will be increasing its paid paternity leave to 14 weeks for all permanent employees covering hetero-sexual, same sex and surrogate partners. Diageo (the drinks giant) have also followed in the footsteps of Aviva and 02, allowing employees to have an equal 52 of week’s parental leave, with the first 26 being fully paid.
These schemes arguably allow for equality and diversity throughout the workforce. In heterosexual couples it is usually the case that mum stays at home and dad goes to work, albeit after taking his 2 weeks of paternity leave (paid if the individual fulfils the criteria). These new policies break down the pre-conceived ideas of how parenting should be done and offers the option for both parents to spend equal time with their child. Employers should be mindful that via their policies they can offer more than the minimum and perhaps they should consider doing so.
It's the dream of many dads: being able to spend more time with their children. For many people, work commitments make it difficult to have as much time as they would like with their growing kids. And right from the start, pressure on families is not helped if it's only possible to take a short paternity leave. But what would it be like if firms let dads take six months paid paternity leave?