29.04.2010

NEW RIGHTS FOR WORKING FATHERS

NEW RIGHTS FOR WORKING FATHERS

The beginning of April 2010 saw the introduction of the additional paternity leave and pay. Whereby fathers (or the parents partner) of babies due on or after 3 April 2011 will be entitled to receive up to 26 weeks additional paternity leave from when the baby is 20 weeks old (providing that the mother has returned to work) and also up to 13 weeks additional paternity pay. This pay will be at the statutory rate of (currently) £124.88 per week. From an employer's point of view, they will have to pay the additional paternity pay upfront but will only be able to claim 92% of it back. It could cause further problems for employers because they will have to arrange cover for the father whilst he is on leave and this in turn could affect the team's morale. Organisations who operate enhance paternity schemes will also come across problems. At the moment they can claim back the statutory element of enhanced paternity pay but only for the normal two week period, so this begs the question are employers legally obliged to extend the enhanced pay? Apparently not. Therefore, organisations who operate enhanced maternity pay schemes will have to consider whether male employees should be entitled to equally enhanced rates of pay and, if not, why not. Presumably there will be groups out there who are now studying the Equal Pay Act 1970, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the EU Equal Treatment Directive to see if it's possible to challenge the unequal treatment of male and female staff. The Government estimates that, of the 258,632 employees entitled to take additional paternity leave and pay in 2011/12, only 10,000-20,000 will do so. 88% of fathers said they would have liked to take the leave, but simply could not afford to.

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