A TUC study for 2011/12 found that 1,650 out of 285,000 men took paternity leave at the statutory rate of £136 a week. Less than 1% of fathers took full advantage of additional paternity available, allowing them to leave up to a total of 26 weeks. The trade union organisation believes that fathers aren’t using the additional leave because they cannot afford to live on the statutory rate of £136, which is not normally supplemented by employers. The Department for Business said a new system of shared parental leave would be introduced from 2015. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady stated that: “Extending paternity pay from two to six weeks and paying a better statutory rate would make a massive difference, as has been shown in other countries.”
The current system allows the father, or husband or partner of a child’s mother, to take up to 26 weeks additional paternity leave – and receive additional statutory paternity pay. However, they can only claim the extra weeks in their child’s first year if the mother returns to work before taking her full maternity leave entitlement. A spokesman for the Department for Business Innovation and Skills said: “The current system for parental leave is old-fashioned and too rigid.“This is why we are introducing a system of shared parental leave from April 2015 so that fathers can take more leave if they want to in the early days of a child’s life.”The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.Setfords Solicitors are a national full service law firm, with employment law solicitors in Norwich and across the country.