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Should the father's employer contribute half of any maternity pay?

(83 Posts)
AyeAmarok Mon 16-May-16 21:44:07

Would this work? ls it "fair" that it's the woman's employer who has to take all the financial hit, when it's both parents who chose to have the baby? (meaning they are more likely to be wary of hiring or promoting women).

Making the man's employer contribute as well, could that go some way towards making it equally as "risky" to hire men as women and then it would be less likely to mean that women of childbearing age are discriminated against.

The sharing of the maternity/paternity leave goes some way to address this, but the take-up is still really low, and the pay isn't actually equal so the financial consequences are still not equal on the man and women's employer.

I'm thinking this through in my head and thought I'd float it out on this board and see what you thought? I know there are loads of potential issues that I haven't thought of, probably some really obvious ones!

But could this be a way of stopping women being so unfairly treated when it comes to having a family?

(happy to be told it's a terrible idea!)

mrschatty Mon 16-May-16 21:47:18

Doesn't SMP come from the government anyway? So big companies would just get rid of any enhanced benefits they may offer like 4 months full pay and just offer SMP surely but then I'm cynical!

FirstShinyRobe Mon 16-May-16 21:47:33

Completely unworkable, but I love it as a concept!

expatinscotland Mon 16-May-16 21:48:49

How are women unfairly treated when it comes to having a baby? They get maternity pay.

AyeAmarok Mon 16-May-16 21:49:37

And I thought about the scenario where say the woman is a SAHM, in that case there would be no maternity pay due to the woman, however, the man could then take the option of taking a longer period of paternity leave too if he wanted to, although he wouldn't receive his full pay, just like a woman doesn't, if he wanted to spend some time with his baby. Then only his employer would pay.

I also thought about how the woman may earn a lot more than the man, and so the man's employer would be paying more than they would for a woman in the man's role. But maybe ot could be scaled proportionately.

AyeAmarok Mon 16-May-16 21:52:25

How are women unfairly treated when it comes to having a baby? They get maternity pay.

Because maternity pay isn't great, if you're lucky you get a few weeks at full pay and a few months at half (then it drops to SMP then nowt)

And from the employer's perspective, they are paying full/half for an employee who isn't there. Because they had to physically have the baby. The man's employer gets off scot-free, even though he is equally responsible for having a baby!

barnet Mon 16-May-16 21:54:50

No, just do what they do in Norway, 18 months parental leave equally divided between the parents / divided how they want. In practice the mum normally takes the first 9 months and the dad takes the second 9 months. The dad has to take at least 3 months. But other than that they can divided as they like.

whatdoIget Mon 16-May-16 22:11:18

I like this idea! As you say, it would make hiring men of child bearing age (and surely that could be any age, unlike with women) just as risky for companies. It would put the boot right onto the other foot. Great idea, if only as a thought experiment! Would certainly shake things up and force change I think!!

AyeAmarok Mon 16-May-16 22:12:58

I agree Norway is light-years ahead of the UK at the moment, and we could learn a lot from them.

But if you make the leave "optional" for the men (like they've done here) then they are less likely to use it.

Forcing them to take 3 out of 18months isn't very balanced. But if the pay impact was split up 9 months and 9 months for each parent's employer, regardless of the ratio of the leave each took, then I think the uptake would be more even, because there'd be less stigma because the impact would be there regardless. And even if it wasn't shared evenly between the parents, the employers would still share the impact of employing "parents" equally.

VestalVirgin Mon 16-May-16 22:54:26

This is a good idea, but needs some more work - like, what do you do about men who father children with women they aren't married to? How would you even know they have become fathers?

Perhaps make paternity rights dependent on it ... but that doesn't work as it is seen as the child's right to see the father. (Though I suspect it is often treated as the man's right, considering what sort of complete assholes get to see children they donated sperm for and never invested anything else ...)

I suppose you could do a thing where the father's employer has to pay the money regardless of when it becomes known the man fathered a child - like, if a man sues for access to a child who is already three years old, his employer would still have to pay.

scoobyloobyloo Mon 16-May-16 23:02:27

I struggle with the fact that I am the main earner in our family by a long way. I think you should be able to choose, somehow, which wage to keep and which wage goes into maternity/SMP, regardless of who works and who stays at home.

We are punished to the tune of around £30k per year each time we have a child because I am the main breadwinner.

AyeAmarok Mon 16-May-16 23:02:28

I definitely think it should apply to both married and unmarried parents. If you know who the father is, and they have a job, then their employer should pay.

Practically, how that would work... I'm still thinking!

AHellOfABird Mon 16-May-16 23:05:56

As per above, SMP is reimbursed by the government and individual employers have different enhanced maternity (and paternity/parental) pay packages.

There are plenty of employers just paying the statutory minimum.

AHellOfABird Mon 16-May-16 23:07:56

And you couldn't hold one employer to another's t&c, whichever of the two was the more generous.

I am pleased by parental leave developments and would like a use it or lose it period for men, perhaps 12m max if only one parent takes it, 13m combined if men take at least 1m. Then go from there.

originalusernamefail Mon 16-May-16 23:09:51

I can see what you mean, what would be the procedure for one night stands (father unknown), mother employed but father not, or if the father dies before the baby is born? I feel what would happen is that the mothers employer would cough up their 'half' only so women who are already vulnerable as they do not have / have lost a partner would lose out a second time.

Whisky2014 Mon 16-May-16 23:12:38

How come it is expected for companies and the government to fund your choice to have a kid?

redmimi Mon 16-May-16 23:13:43

The government pay SMP but shared parental leave was introduced to try and redress the balance here. Paternal take up has been incredibly low.

AHellOfABird Mon 16-May-16 23:22:55

Because children are necessary to fund the pension deficit, whisky. Taxes fund schools and healthcare for kids too, you know - do you also object to that?

cruikshank Mon 16-May-16 23:26:23

Good point, whisky, let'#s just all stop having kids. Um.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Mon 16-May-16 23:31:51

And you couldn't hold one employer to another's t&c, whichever of the two was the more generous

Yes that is why this is a ridiculous idea.

Employers can claim back SMP. They cannot claim back maternity pay which is contractual. You are suggesting one employer will be paying a salary to their own employee, who is present and working, and part of someone else's salary for an employee whose terms they had no input in whatsoever. Or are you suggesting the 2 employers have to get together, pool what each pay their own employees and split it equally between them? Can you imagine the admin involved in either of these scenarios?

The man's employer gets off scot-free, even though he is equally responsible for having a baby!

It's not an employer's responsibility to fund their employees decision to have children.

AHellOfABird Mon 16-May-16 23:50:05

Both employers get off Scot free if all they pay is statutory, given reimbursement of SMP and SPP.

Beyond that, some offer good parental leave pay, some good sick leave pay, some share options etc.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Tue 17-May-16 00:04:46

Why is it an employer's responsibility to fund their employees' decision to have children?

All employers have to pay SMP. Some employers can afford to do better than that and do. Some employers simply cannot afford to pay good parental leave to employees who aren't there , particularly if they are paying maternity /paternity cover.

The suggestion that one employer should be statutorily bound to pay part of the contractual wages of someone else's employee would be unworkable.

almondpudding Tue 17-May-16 00:16:48

I don't see why the father's employer shouldn't pay half SMP to SAHMs anyway.

It would resolve one of the problems of not valuing or financially compensating SAHMs.

AHellOfABird Tue 17-May-16 00:22:24

Because the worker's employer has no relationship with the SAHP!

Asking for government to directly pay all new parents £x per week would be more implementable. Of course, the £x would be the standard £130 or whatever it's at now, rather than 90 % of pay,

Maternity leave was largely developed to protect the person giving birth, ensure she had some minimum period to properly recover and be paid something without her job being at risk. The "caring for the new baby" part of parental leave is different.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Tue 17-May-16 00:57:01

I don't see why the father's employer shouldn't pay half SMP to SAHMs anyway

That would be a pointless shuffling around of money. Statutory SMP can be reclaimed by employers either as a direct claim or an adjustment to NI return. No one would be better off but administration is increased.

I don't really following what OP is suggesting Does she mean-

Employer of the parent who takes time off pays half or a proportion of the contractual pay and makes the employer of the parent who is at work pay the other half?

How would that work? I wasn't entitled to anything when I was off but say I was and I'd married someone who earned considerably less than me - would his employer have been expected to make up a proportion of my wage? Or do the 2 employers have to pool the burden?

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