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Mobile phone network O2 announced that they increased paid paternity leave for all permanent members of staff to 14 weeks, making it one of the first major firms in the UK to do so. The standard paternity leave is two weeks. This is now claimed to be amongst the best paternity packages on offer to retail workers.

The Fathers and the Workplace Report, published in 2018 by the Women and Equalities Committee (“the Committee”), found that there needs to be a cultural change for fathers to feel comfortable in requesting flexible working and taking up shared parental leave.

Danielle Ayres, Senior Employment Solicitor at Gorvins states “In my experience there does seem to be a shift, with more fathers helping out with caring for their children, rather than heralding childcare as being a ‘women’s’ issue’.” However, she agrees that certainly more needs to be done to ensure that fathers feel comfortable asking for and taking shared parental leave, or more paternity leave after the birth of their child.

“The recommendations made by the Committee would certainly help this along if they were to be put in place, so that all fathers have a chance to spend time and bond with their children, in the same way as mothers do, without fear of their earnings being substantially affected or any other repercussions at work.”

This was announced on the fourth anniversary of the introduction of shared parental leave, as the TUC said that shared parental leave is unaffordable for most working families and should be overhauled. The Union body also said that increasing paternity leave could help half a million fathers spend more time with their new babies.

If you require employment advice in relation to shared parental leave or paternity leave give us a call on 0161 930 5151 or email Danielle.Aryes@gorvins.com