Proposals to enhance workplace rights for fathersPrint publication
The Government’s ‘Women and Equalities Committee’ has proposed some improvements to fathers’ workplace rights, to meet the increased demand for role flexibility and to assist in addressing underlying causes of the gender pay gap.
Evidence from their latest report notes that many men are disincentivised from taking paternity leave because of the low rate of statutory paternity pay (SPP) (£145.18 per week or 90% of earnings whichever is lower). The Committee encourages the government to undertake a new fact-finding survey to assess the effectiveness and take-up of paternity leave and pay, as well as unpaid parental leave and the statutory right to time off for dependants.
In addition, the report makes suggestions for legislative changes. It recommends that the government should:
- remove the current SPP qualifying period, increase the SPP allowance to 90% of earnings (subject to a maximum cap) and introduce new paternity allowances for self-employed fathers
- provide fathers with a day-one right to paid time off to attend antenatal appointments, and enhance rights for agency workers
- rethink the current shared parental leave framework, and in its place introduce an additional 12-week paternal leave entitlement for fathers in the first year following birth
- make paternity a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010.
Whilst there will be no immediate changes to the law, this is an area for employers to keep on their radar.