Parental leave

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Barnardo’s is urging employers to throw their weight behind a new law which allows fathers of new babies to share parental leave with their partners.

Parents of all babies born from April 8 can now split up to 52 weeks of shared parental leave between them as well as up to 39 weeks of statutory shared parental pay. However, the legislation won’t have the desired impact unless businesses give it their full backing.

Research has found that 70 per cent of part-time working fathers think there is a social stigma attached to paternity leave.

Barnardo’s is welcoming the new measures and believes they will allow low paid working families, where the mother is the higher earner, the opportunity to provide parental support for their child without worrying about losing their jobs. The legislation applies equally for same sex and adoptive couples.

This can only work with a significant shift in social attitudes that addresses the difficulties parents have when considering how to manage their childcare needs. This includes any plans for longer paternity leave, flexible working, help with childcare costs and welfare support.

The relationship between a father and their child starts before the child is born. It’s now known that a baby can hear his or her dad’s voice when still in the womb.

The father’s presence in the first days of a child’s life provides a key foundation for their security and well-being.

Jonathan Whalley

acting director for south east and Anglia

Barnardo’s

Tanners Lane

Ilford

Essex

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