Labour leader, Ed Miliband, has pledged to increase the amount of paid paternity leave from two weeks to four weeks if Labour win the general election. In addition, they will also increase paternity pay to £260 per week.
Under the current rules, new fathers qualify for leave of two weeks paid at the statutory rate of £138.18 per week, due to increase to £139.58 per week from 6th April 2015. Research has estimated that the additional leave and pay pledged by Labour would cost the UK £150 million a year by increasing the take up of paternity leave from the current figure of 55% to 70%.
The Federation of Small Business has urged Labour to allow companies to adapt to Shared Parental Leave before more changes are made to family friendly laws. With Shared Parental Leave already in place but not taking effect until the birth of babies on or after the 5th April 2015, it is not yet known how this will impact businesses, financially or procedurally.
With 2015 being an election year it is likely that between now and May the parties will announce many new schemes affecting employees in an attempt to win votes. Family friendly changes can often be seen as the easiest changes to implement; the Liberal Democrats have also made pre-election proposals to increase paternity leave to four weeks while the Conservatives are supporting greater flexibility in parental leave.
If you need any clarification on this issue then contact the Peninsula Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.