Working Families’ response to Theresa May’s announcement of a consultation on parental leave entitlements
Published: 19 Jul 2019
In response to Prime Minister Theresa May’s 19 July 2019 announcement of a consultation on parental leave entitlements, Working Families Chief Executive Jane van Zyl said:
This consultation is great news for families. Increasing paternity leave and pay will help fathers share care of their children more equally, and will make progress toward closing the gender pay gap.
There is clear evidence that the longer the fathers’ leave is during their child’s first year, the more involved they are in their child’s life on an ongoing basis. And better paid leave drives take-up. Any new entitlement should be introduced alongside a more accessible Shared Parental Leave offer, maximising flexibility and choice for working families.
The UK’s more than 1 million fathers who are not employees aren’t currently entitled to Shared Parental Leave or pay. These, and any new leave and pay entitlements, need to be made available to all fathers, regardless of their employment contract, allowing more families to benefit.
To share care on an ongoing basis, fathers need a supportive, gender-equal and embedded flexible working culture to return to. Better leave for fathers needs to be accompanied by legislative action to shift the UK labour market toward flexible working by default, so fathers and mothers who want to work part-time and flexibly can easily do so, whilst continuing to progress their careers.
 1,284,000 – From ONS Statistics 2018