Fathers could get up to 12-weeks paternity leave under new proposals

Fathers in the UK could have as much as three months to spend with their newborn, under proposals outlined as part of Theresa May's legacy plans.

Currently new dads in the UK can take either one week or two consecutive weeks of paternity leave – which also applies to fathers adopting a baby – which can’t start before the baby’s actual/expected due date.

During this period they receive £148.68 a week or 90 per cent of their average weekly earnings (whichever is lower).

As part of new proposals seeking to extend paternity leave for 12 weeks, dads could get 90 per cent of their salary for first four weeks of paternity leave.

For the remaining eight weeks they would have a standard flat rate, with the complete package ensuring they have quality time to bond with their new arrival and are on hand to support their partner.

However, a source has told The Sun that the plan still has some finer points to be ironed out with Business Secretary Greg Clark, including how extended paternity leave could impact businesses whose employees have a high salaries.

MORE: Why maternity leave is so much harder than you think

Expanding on this Tory MP Kevin Hollinrake said: ‘Firms are under huge pressure whether it’s paying the national living wage or coping to keep up with crippling business rates.

‘Small to medium-sized firms need time to adjust and the measures will need to be properly consulted on.’

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A government source told the publication that ‘Plans are still being discussed’ in relation to the proposal.

A report by the Women and Equalities Committee last year suggested that the Government should consider the costs and benefits of introducing a new policy of 12 weeks’ dedicated leave for fathers in the child’s first year to replace shared parental leave when this comes under review.

It seems that the time could be ripe for changes in paternity leave as last year Law firm EMW – who obtained figures from HM Revenue and Customs showed – revealed that there was a 3.3 per cent drop in the number of fathers who took up paternity leave in the 12 months to 31 March 2018.

This figure fell to 213,500 from 221,000 the year before. In contrast, there was a slight increase (up 0.3 per cent) in the number of mothers taking up maternity leave.

For women, statutory maternity pay in the UK for is paid for up to 39 weeks. For the first six weeks, new mothers receive 90 per cent of their average weekly earnings. During the following 33 weeks of their maternity leave, they receive either £148.68 or 90 per cent of their average weekly earnings (whichever is lower).

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