The Best Father's Day Gift Would Be Truly Shared Parental Leave

It’s easy to get 2018 confused with 1958 isn’t it? I know, it happens all the time.  Mum at home, polishing the washing machine and Nurturer in Chief to the kids, dad out to work, returning in time for tea readily prepared on the table with their 2.4 children smiling up at them. All is right with the world.  As if in a dystopian dream the Government’s response to the Women and Equalities Select Committee report on fathers in the workplace, published this week, reveals they are still wearing their 1950s spectacles.  Their view of the world barely changed by the advancement of progress towards equality and the sound of the reality of family life with UK parents banging on the 21st Century’s front door, growing ever louder, demanding to be let in. 

What the Committee recommended was three months ‘use it or lose it’ parental leave (four weeks paid at 90% of earnings with a cap for higher earners, the rest at statutory level – quite modest really) is in line with what a number of other countries offer families, and have been for some time.  Take up of parental leave by fathers is low worldwide, except in countries with certain types of “father’s quota”. These countries include Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and Quebec in Canada.  The common features of these systems are that they all have high replacement rates (77.6% in Sweden, 100% in Norway, 80% in Iceland, and 75% in Quebec, typically with a cap), and non-transferable period of leave for fathers that can be used without restriction during the qualified leave…

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