Campaign groups call for increased statutory paternity leave and pay 

August, 2023 - Shoosmiths LLP

On 15 June 2023, three groups namely the Centre for Progressive Policy (CPP), Pregnant Then Screwed (PTS) and Women in Data, published their collaborative report on the social and economic impact associated with extended paternity leave and pay.

Currently in the UK, the statutory entitlement to paternity leave is capped at two weeks, with the weekly rate for paternity pay amounting to the lower of £172.48 per week or 90% of average weekly earnings.

According to the CPP, Organization for Economic. Cooperation and Development (OECD) data reveals that countries with more than 6 weeks of paid paternity leave have a 4% lower gender pay gap than countries with less than 6 weeks. Therefore increasing the UK entitlement may not only contribute to an improved sense of wellbeing, but may also go someway to improving equality in the workforce. 

A survey conducted by PTS also found that mental health is greatly affected by limited parental leave, with 63% of fathers stating they did not feel ready to return to work. A further 29% of parents considered they had experienced a new mental health issue in the 2 years following the birth of their child.

To align with statutory maternity pay, the campaign groups mentioned are calling for the government to increase paternity leave to a minimum of 6 weeks to be paid at 90% of income. With PTS having successfully campaigned during the pandemic for childcare bubbles, prioritisation of pregnant women for the Covid-19 vaccine and a grant for low income parents, it will be interesting to see if this latest campaign will gain traction with the government.  



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