New dads are to get paternity leaveNew fathers working in the UK are set to receive the benefits of six months paid parental leave when the mother of the baby returns to work, the government recently announced. 

The Department of Business Innovation and Skills has revealed legislation to give parents more choice and flexibility in how they use maternity and paternity leave will be introduced under government plans. 

It added the proposals will be introduced for parents of children due on or after April 3rd 2011 in order to give employers plan to prepare. 

Becky Jarvis, policy officer at Families Need Fathers, welcomed the news and said it was an important first step. 

She added mothers and fathers have been sharing the responsibilities of parenthood for years but that this is often not reflected in policy. 

While there is still a way to go, Ms Jarvis notes she was pleased traditional gender roles of mothers as carers and fathers as breadwinners were no longer being enforced. 

“Obviously there will be an impact for businesses. I’m sure that long-term it will be best because women will be able to go back to work after six months and they know that someone is there caring for their children, so it’s good for women,” she stated, adding this would also be good for workplace productivity. 

Ms Jarvis concluded children would be better off having both parents share caring for them. 

Theresa May, the Shadow Minister for Women and Equality, said that fathers would get up to twice the amount of paid paternity leave under Conservative plans, compared to the Government’s latest plans. 

“The truth is that this announcement is a pale imitation of our own proposals”, May said. 

She said she hoped that the Government has finally followed the Conservative lead on accepting the need for parents to have more flexibility in how they take their paid maternity leave, but expressed doubts about the pledge. 

“Labour’s track record implies that this is a pre-election pledge that could be quietly dropped after voters go to the polls. They went into the last election promising to extend maternity leave to a year, but have broken that pledge – why should anyone trust them on paternity leave now?