Review of parental leave announced

The latest research into parental leave has found that less than one in three fathers take up paternity leave.

The research, which was collected from HMRC using freedom of information requests, found that only 31 per cent of new fathers used the paternity leave that they were eligible for. This is the fourth year of a continuous fall in new fathers taking up paternity leave.

Also, the TUC found that 23 per cent of new dads didn’t qualify because of their employment status or as a result of not being in their job long enough.

This comes on top of the recent Court of Appeal decision that those exercising their rights to shared parental leave need not be at an enhanced rate.

To qualify for paternity leave a Father must:

  • Be an employee
  • Give the correct notice
  • Have been continuously employed by their employer for at least 26 weeks before the 15th week before the baby is due. (This is different on adoption).

The rise of the “gig economy” means that an increasing number of men do not qualify for paternity leave as they are not employees or are not employed for long enough.

The TUC has called on the government to “give dads longer, better-paid paternity leave. And all dads should be entitled to paid paternity leave from their first day in their job – regardless of what kind of contract they have.”

The current statutory rate for paternity pay is up to a maximum of £148.68 per week for 2 weeks. Employers can usually reclaim between 92 per cent and 103 per cent of employees’ Statutory Paternity, depending on whether the business qualifies for Small Employers’ Relief.

The Government are now considering various ways to improve the process and increase the number of men taking time off after the birth of their child, as part of the “Good Work Plan”, which may see an increase in the number of fathers qualifying for paternity leave and an increased statutory payment.

Hethertons will keep you up to date with these and other developments in employment law and HR. Keep reading our blogs and watch this space.

Confused about maternity, paternity, parental adoption leave, contact Hethertons employment team on 01904 528200.