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AIBU to think that paternity leave policy is unfair…

(144 Posts)
Wombat12 Mon 01-Apr-19 17:41:54

I’m currently a full-time student and my DH works full-time. We’d like to start a family after I graduate. I’d have 2-3 months between the end of my course and the start of my job contract (guaranteed) so we’d aim to have the baby in that period/just before (as much as you can ever plan these things!) and our plan was then for me to start working full-time and my DH to take on the role of primary caregiver. So we looked into shared parental leave…

It seems that unless I am working for the required amount prior to my due date (26 weeks in the 66 weeks before earning at least £390 in total across 13 of those weeks) my DH won’t be entitled to any leave beyond the minimum 2 weeks. If I was working I could transfer my leave entitlement to DH. I might be being unreasonable but it seems unfair to me that my DH’s ability to take leave depends on my working status not on his own. If the situation was reversed my leave wouldn’t depend on his working status and I’d not be impressed if it did!

I appreciate this wouldn’t normally be a problem and I could just get a part-time job. However, unfortunately the course I’m studying doesn’t really allow any time for a job and it’s strongly recommended we don't have one, especially in our final year. Any suggestions of possible part-time jobs that would meet the minimum criteria and not be too time intensive really appreciated.

Sorry if I’ve explained this poorly!

PengAly Mon 01-Apr-19 18:40:11

Op im confused why your insanely unrealistic timelines...so do you plan yo fall pregnant and have the baby before that 3 month window and then syart your guaranteed job after mat leave? If so, how are you getting mat leave from a company before you even start? OR are you planning TTC and fall pregnant in the 3 month window?

I mean either option seems very naive to me but i guess the 2nd one is the better of the 2...

rainingoutside Mon 01-Apr-19 19:26:25

I disagree with most of the posts.YANBU. Maternity and paternity leave are not equal so you do not have the same options as if the job/study roles were reversed which is inherently not fair. There will always be a difference needed for recovery from birth in the first six weeks, but I actually agree that there is no reason why only maternity leave conveys longer time off as opposed to being an equal choice between the parents. However, fair or not that is the current system, so either plan for little income or wait until you've been working 6 months before trying to conceive!
Timing pregnancy that precisely is not necessarily going to work (and the baby may be born early, or have an issue causing miscarriage etc), but as approx. 60%of couples at your age conceive within 3 months it's not the impossibility that posters suggest (and chromosomal issues causing miscarriage will also be lower probability at that age.) So you need to plan for the possibility of being pregnant the first month you try as well as the possibility it may take longer! https://www.babycenter.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-get-pregnant
Good luck!

cadburyegg Mon 01-Apr-19 19:33:12

We started ttc for our first baby in January 2014. I fell pregnant in the May and DS1 came in February 2015.
Second time round we started ttc in January 2017. This time I fell pregnant straight away but miscarried in the March. Fell pregnant again in the June and had DS2 in March 2018.

And this is quite a straightforward ttc journey. We are/were young, no health issues that affected us. Hopefully, that helps you to understand why your timeframe isn’t very realistic.

BlueSkiesLies Mon 01-Apr-19 19:35:48

You aren’t working and you don’t have any maternity leave to share!

Merryoldgoat Mon 01-Apr-19 19:36:59

Do you understand how having a baby works?

Merryoldgoat Mon 01-Apr-19 19:43:04

I actually agree that there is no reason why only maternity leave conveys longer time off as opposed to being an equal choice between the parents.

You get maternity leave IF you’re working. You can share it IF your partner is working.

It one of you isn’t working why on earth would the government pay for for someone not currently in work earning to look after a child? It’s the equivalent of paying SMP to a person earning their normal salary.

And the reason maternity leave coffers longer time is that whole ‘recovery’ business which can be a long fucking time.

I’m still on blood pressure meds and referred to three clinics 13 months after my baby was born. The twice weekly doctors visits were much easier not having to negotiate time off too

Climbingahoneytree Mon 01-Apr-19 19:44:05

You do realise that there is a minimum maternity amount you have to take as a woman (I think 6 weeks) to recover from birth? Why would you be allowed shared parental leave after that if you aren't working? And your DH doesn't have a birth to recover from...

I don't think this problem even matters because you can't plan having a baby down to a 2/3 month window. It doesn't work that way.

Cloudyyy Mon 01-Apr-19 19:44:49

So you don’t have a job but would expect paid maternity leave?! What?!!

MyDcAreMarvel Mon 01-Apr-19 19:47:21

@Wombat12 register as self employed and pay class 2 no contributions. You need be registered as self employed for 6 months before baby is due.
It’s irrelevant how much you earn as you will be treated as earning £30 a week if you pay NI cost less than £3 a week.
You could do ironing, Dog walking, Avon , eBay business Ellet, etsy.
That way your dh will quality for shared parental leave.

YouLikeTheBadOnesToo Mon 01-Apr-19 19:50:08

My employer had a compulsory 6 weeks maternity leave for all new mothers, I’m not sure if this was a legal requirement or not. It might be worth checking with your future employer, you may not be able to start as soon as you’d like if you do have a baby.

Mixedupmummy Mon 01-Apr-19 19:51:43

I agree with pp that you should wait a year or so. so many potential problems with your plan. are you studying medicine/going to be a doctor? if so, even more so.
I think you need to research and speak to people about what being pregnant and having a small baby is like. a lot, dare i say most women find it gut wrenching having to leave a small baby to return to work. you will essentially be manufacturing a scenario where you will have to leave your tiny baby when if you just delay a while you will have more options and flexibly open to you.

Jessgalinda Mon 01-Apr-19 19:52:17

MyDcAreMarvel but SMP wont be paid at the full amount per week for him either

CustardOmlet Mon 01-Apr-19 19:53:05

I am more concerned that you appear to be describing a health care course, which you need to be able to pass the final elements (placement) in order to complete th course. As a healthcare educator I have seen many students taking time off placement with pregnancy related sickness and having to take an unplanned interruption. Do not risk it, get your first job, earn your maternity entitlement and calm down with the career ambitions!

MyDcAreMarvel Mon 01-Apr-19 19:53:39

Depends what job , many public service jobs pay full salary for six months for the partner.

iabvvu Mon 01-Apr-19 19:56:31

Lots of very patronising comments...

Are you a final year medical student? Only asking because there's a 2-3 month gap between finals and F1 at my uni so it would make sense. If so you defo can't get a job - ignore those saying 'it can be done', don't spread yourself too thin. But I would start working first before TTC, it does sound a bit hard to coordinate otherwise. Good luck x

OnlyFoolsnMothers Mon 01-Apr-19 19:57:19

So at best you’d have two months with your newborn before starting work....are you crazy?!

user1480880826 Mon 01-Apr-19 19:57:32

Concentrate on finishing your course and finding a job. Babies can wait. If you’ve got a job you’ll be entitled to maternity leave which you’ll be able to share with your partner if you choose (although I’m never quite sure how that works in reality if you’re breastfeeding but that’s a whole other topic for debate).

Jessgalinda Mon 01-Apr-19 19:58:13

Depends what job , many public service jobs pay full salary for six months for the partner.

Then he would get that regardless.

If the DHS employer was going to pay him full for 6 months, I cant imagine the OP would be that fussed

rainingoutside Mon 01-Apr-19 19:58:31

I understand how the current system of shared leave works being tied to the maternity leave entitlement, but I don't agree that a new system where either parent could choose to take leave wouldn't work, essentially making paternity and maternity leave an entirely equal choice.
The majority of couples would probably choose to the mother to take the whole time anyway (as happens now several years after shared leave was introduced), partly due to recovery/breastfeeding/societal factors, but couples would have the choice for what best suits them. Many mothers do return to work by 12 weeks such as in the U.S or self employed mothers.
I am simply agreeing with OP that the leave granted to each parent isn't equal in the current system and it could made so by a different system.

Jessgalinda Mon 01-Apr-19 20:01:12

I am simply agreeing with OP that the leave granted to each parent isn't equal in the current system and it could made so by a different system.

But both parents dont work so of course it's not equal.

ZippyBungleandGeorge Mon 01-Apr-19 20:02:49

😂 we hoped for a 2020 or after baby, DS is nearly five months old. Three month window 😂😂😂

AmIRightOrAMeringue Mon 01-Apr-19 20:03:03

Normally I'm all for increasing fathers leave and making it easier to share leave ms. parents. But you're being ridiculous. Its leave from work. Do you seriously think it's fair to work for a few months then get money off them for either of you not working for 9? Most benefits both statutory protections and from the company start off poor then increase once you've worked for a set time eg don't get a bonus or much holiday the first year, increased employment protection rights after 2 years. You're still usually in a probation period for 6 months, they might stick have no idea whether they want to keep you or not!

S1naidSucks Mon 01-Apr-19 20:04:01

Have you decided what colour of eyes your baby is going to have, OP? 🤣

MyDcAreMarvel Mon 01-Apr-19 20:04:27

Then he would get that regardless
No he wouldn’t two weeks paternity or six months shared parental leave!

mindutopia Mon 01-Apr-19 20:04:33

If you want to qualify for maternity leave (either for yourself or to share), you have to work. I had my first baby while doing a PhD. I started doing consulting work for about the year before in addition to my research so that I could qualify as self employed and then qualify for maternity allowance. There was no shared parental leave back then, but it meant I got 39 weeks of MA.

Now you want to talk about unfair though, my self employed dh doesn’t even get paternity leave as it does exist for self employed people. He took 3 weeks off unpaid and basically shuttered our family business so we could spend those early days together.

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