Half of employers support the extension of statutory paternity leave

statutory paternityAlmost half (46%) of UK organisations said they support extending statutory paternity or partner leave and pay, with 29% backing an extension to six weeks or more, according to new data from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

The professional body for HR and people development surveyed 2,000 senior decision-makers and found that 49% have a paternity or partner leave policy which provides the current statutory leave entitlement and pay, and 33% said this should be extended to four weeks.

The majority (85%) of organisations admitted that no new fathers or partners have taken up shared parental leave in the past two years.

A third (34%) said the introduction of 30 hours of free childcare per week for all three to four-year-olds in 2017 made a positive impact on the amount of women returning to work, and 56% believed the number of women with young children returning to work would improve further if the same level of free childcare was extended to children under two years old.

Claire McCartney, senior policy adviser at the CIPD, said: “These survey findings reinforce our policy call to extend statutory paternity or partner leave and pay, which will help balance caring responsibilities, reflect the changing nature of modern families and provide much-needed financial support to working parents. Extended paternity or partner leave can have emotional benefits for parents and children, as well as improving the gender pay gap, as it enables a more equal split of time out of work to care for children.

“There is also a need for reform in current childcare and early years education provision. Taking these steps to extend statutory paternity or partner leave and enabling affordable childcare from the end of maternity leave will create more opportunities and flexibility for working parents, by allowing them to return to work earlier if they choose to.”