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Should paternal leave be mandatory?

(70 Posts)
VegetariansTasteLikeChicken Tue 04-Feb-14 13:49:43

Just wonder what you all think as it seems like the low take up of paternity leave seems to be enough to assume women are the only "risk" when hiring.

What if it was forced for 6 weeks? Would that be feasible?

sleepyhead Tue 04-Feb-14 13:55:29

You could only force it for 6 weeks if it was paid at 90% of pay, as the equivilent is for women. Pricey.

You can't "force" families to take such a potentially huge drop in income as current SPP for 6 weeks.

Even making it mandatory for 6 weeks for both parents to be on 90% pay could be hard for some.

Granted, some men probably don't take any paternity leave because they can't be arsed being around their newborn children... but a lot of the time it's down to the mundane reality of paying the bills. A lot of men take annual leave if they can instead.

VegetariansTasteLikeChicken Tue 04-Feb-14 14:15:50

Sorry, I should have explained that my 6 week number was because that was what what women have for their 90% number. BUt yes, I agree it would still leave people struggling. Maybe if it was 100% for everyone for the first 6 weeks and required? I know some people (male and female) really do want to be back at work after 2 weeks.. but I suspect far more would prefer a few weeks home with their baby if they have the genuine option but feel it would be frowned upon.

VegetariansTasteLikeChicken Tue 04-Feb-14 14:18:05

Also I wonder if more men were home during the 6 weeks and with bf rates being what they are (fairly low) I wonder how many families would see that Dad is more suited to being home than Mum anyway? And might swap their additional leave?

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 04-Feb-14 14:25:15

Even women are only forced to have two weeks maternity leave (4 weeks if working in a factory) & that's only for medical/health & safety reasons.

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 04-Feb-14 14:26:17

I work for a very male dominated company & most new dads can't afford 2 weeks in SPP. Some save up their holiday instead v

Spottybra Tue 04-Feb-14 14:28:53

SPP is ridiculous. We didn't notice it first time around, either because DH his small company gave him 2 weeks pay at normal rate. But his larger company paid SPP and we struggled that month when the wage came through. It needs to be at 90% of earnings to make take up worthwhile.

Spottybra Tue 04-Feb-14 14:29:41

Sorry, that doesn't make sense. Miss out the either and because.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Tue 04-Feb-14 14:31:01

What about absent fathers? Would they get a compulsory 6 week holiday? (Recalling a recent thread.)

NeoFaust Tue 04-Feb-14 14:33:27

Hell yes. Definitely need something along these lines to end the wretched pay-gap once and for all.

Trapper Tue 04-Feb-14 14:38:33

I would support a proposal to bring in 2-4 weeks at 90% and I think this will make a massive difference to fathers who often have no choice but to return to work (assuming they can even afford time off in the first place). It would also help fathers understand the life of the SAHP a little better and would provide mothers with greater support post birth. I would not support this being mandatory though - I think the state would be overstepping its remit there.
I have now idea how this legislation would need to be written to cover for parents with partners who are not the biological father, and conversely how estranged dads could be prevented from using this as a free holiday.
I am male btw.

Trapper Tue 04-Feb-14 14:40:17

Also yes indeed - it may encourage parents to think more about which parent should return to work rather than sticking to traditional roles.

EdithWeston Tue 04-Feb-14 14:41:54

Only if maternity leave was also made compulsory (it only is for 2-4 weeks depending on work setting and that is based on physical recovery which doesn't apply to men).

VegetariansTasteLikeChicken Tue 04-Feb-14 14:48:07

What about absent fathers? Would they get a compulsory 6 week holiday? (Recalling a recent thread.)

Ooh good point OldLadyKnowsNothing, maybe only those cohabitating?

I also think it wold be fine to be compulsory for mothers to take 6 weeks. I think very parents truly want to go back before 6 weeks and most do it because they feel obligated either for financial reasons or because works expects it of them

VegetariansTasteLikeChicken Tue 04-Feb-14 14:49:02

very few*

AnnieLobeseder Tue 04-Feb-14 14:51:34

Yes, in the same way that I agree with boardroom quotas. There won't be a change in attitudes and societal expectations until it is forced. And women won't stop being treated as second-rate employees until it is equally as likely that men will be taking extended breaks to raise their families.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Tue 04-Feb-14 15:00:49

Even the cohabiting thing wouldn't necessarily be fair; ds and his then-dp didn't live together when their dc was born, but he was (and remains) a very involved dad.

GarlicReverses Tue 04-Feb-14 15:04:45

Same as Annie. I don't see equality getting further until working practices change to accommodate family responsibilities. This will not happen while:
i] policy makers are nearly all men
ii] men assume someone else takes care of family.
I'm in favour of boardroom quotas and mandatory paternal leave, as it will shift the assumption base somewhat. There are other changes I'd like to see, but these two are the big ones now.

GarlicReverses Tue 04-Feb-14 15:08:05

Oh, and the paternal leave must be taken at a different time from the maternal. It works like this in some Scandinavian countries - too lazy to look it up - the point being that the father actually takes responsibility for his children, supported by his employer.

CaptainGrinch Tue 04-Feb-14 16:11:21

No, I don't think it should be mandatory.

How do you define who should have it? Everyone, whether they co-habit or not? Or if their name is on the Birth Certificate? Or if they're a donor?

I don't think anyone should be forced into spending time with their children and that included mothers.

whatdoesittake48 Tue 04-Feb-14 16:32:00

it all stems from the fact that men are paid more. In a relationship, it is often the man who earns more money and therefore the man who heads back to work earlier.

But if a system could be worked out to ensure that pay was topped up to even it out over the whole six months then it should be compulsory - yes.

Breastfeeding makes that tricky though

GarlicReverses Tue 04-Feb-14 18:23:25

How do you define who should have it? - In general, the partner who is living with the baby ... obviously. No point in giving it to a donor who isn't raising the child! What strange objections confused
To discuss the possibility of a law, it's not necessary to write the legislation or anticipate its judicial tests in practice.

CaptainGrinch Tue 04-Feb-14 18:34:54

OK, so what about families who want Mum to stay at home & Dad to stay at work (not uncommon). You don't see an issue with telling Dad he has to take time off work?

I always get a bit nervous when laws are telling people what to do, rather than enabling the process by making sure employers are doing the right thing.

WidowWadman Tue 04-Feb-14 19:58:49

I like the German approach, whereas paid leave is extended by 2 months, only if both parents take at least 2 months each (it's up to them how they share the rest of the leave and can also take their leaves concurrently) - this means it's incentivised choice rather than mandatory, which I prefer.

VegetariansTasteLikeChicken Tue 04-Feb-14 20:35:06

No one would stop mum from staying home, just make dad stay too, thereby getting rid of the assumption that women should be default carer. But if dad isn't willing to take 6 weeks off to take care of his own newborn maybe he should be rethinking the whole parenting thing anyway.


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