Under current legislation, new fathers are only entitled to two weeks’ paid paternity leave. The new Regulations will entitle fathers with babies born after 3 April 2011 to the right to take up to six months’ paternity leave.
The research found that 60% of employers had already updated their policies to reflect the introduction of APL and ASPP (Additional Statutory Paternity Pay) but 40% had not yet done so. However, most of those who have not made changes plan to do so within two months.
Almost one in five (19%) of the employers who have made policy changes plan to pay fathers six weeks on full pay when they take APL. A wide range of policies are proposed for after the first six weeks – some plan to offer further enhancements, others reflect SMP (Statutory Maternity Pay) rates with six weeks of enhanced pay followed by the statutory rates.
Two in three employers who have made policy changes plan to pay fathers only the statutory paternity pay of Ã‚Â£128.73 per week (or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings, whichever is lower) during Additional Paternity Leave even though 65% of these offer enhanced maternity pay for the equivalent weeks to a female employee on maternity leave.
The majority (64%) of employers saw APL as a legal obligation that they would have to comply with, but 22% saw its potential as a means of improving operational effectiveness.
Sarah Jackson, Working Families Chief Executive, commented:
“It is surprising that 40% of employers report that they are not yet prepared for the change in the law. Parents of babies due on or after 3 April may already want to discuss their plans to share leave. I’m pleased to see how many employers recognise the benefits of treating fathers well and will offer above the minimum statutory payments.
“Many fathers don’t take ordinary paternity leave now because they can’t afford to lose pay at a time when family costs increase. Our research also shows that giving fathers greater control and flexibility to improve their work–life balance improves their loyalty and commitment to an organisation. Businesses that do right by fathers will reap the benefits.”