Ed Miliband calls on dads to get 12 weeks paternity leave | Maternity and paternity rights


Fathers should be offered at least three months ‘use it or lose it’ paternity leave to help challenge the UK’s entrenched gender roles and work prioritization by the UK. relative to family for men, according to shadow business secretary Ed Miliband.

The former Labor leader is arguing for a ‘reorganization’ of responsibilities that gives men the opportunity to spend more time caring for children without financial penalty.

In his next book, Miliband says that men who take paternity leave around childbirth develop a closer, healthier relationship with their child, and the family unit is stronger.

“Our ambition should be to build a world where men also engage in the care that has always been done by women, and in doing so, reorganize the values ​​of work, family and love so that work doesn’t always come first, ”he says.

Current policy, he says, encourages fathers to make only a ‘brief paternity leave’ because they receive paltry two weeks’ paid paternity leave at a flat rate of £ 150 per week, prompting the Most fathers cite financial constraints as the biggest obstacle. to take more time off with their newly born or adopted child.

The 51-year-old MP for Doncaster wants fathers to offer non-transferable paid leave at a generous level, which he says would help reframe the ‘men at work, women at home’ dynamic that the UK provision current encourages.

In Go big, his book on political ideas that can transform society, he cites research that suggests that nine years after a baby is born, paternity leave has long-term effects on the quality of father-child relationships.

More equal parental leave would also benefit women in the workplace and help narrow the gender pay gap, which research shows can be attributed to childcare.

Ed Miliband: “We would start to free ourselves from a culture that is so important to women.” Photograph: Ian Forsyth / Getty Images

Although Miliband’s views are not official labor policy, there appears to be a considerable appetite within the party to promote gender equality. On Saturday, details emerged of how the Labor Party would make it illegal to fire women during pregnancy, while calling on the government to review its “failed” parental leave policy.

Miliband writes: “We would start to free ourselves from a culture that weighs so heavily on women, penalizes them for having children, forces them to a particular stereotype.

“If we are successful, everyone can contribute to economic success and gain more choices in how they balance work and family life. This could be the start of an overhaul of the social contract between women and men and between work and family life, ”added Miliband, who recently confessed to not being bold enough in trying to convince the British electorate in 2015 that he should be prime minister.

Groups representing fathers’ rights welcomed Miliband’s intervention in the debate.

Michael Lewkowicz, spokesperson for Families Need Fathers charity, said: “We fully support an extension of paid paternity leave. We believe both parents are important in children’s lives and research results support this. Our policies are outdated and do not support the best interests of children or families in general. “

Lewkowicz added that the UK has the world’s largest differential between support for mothers and fathers – statutory maternity leave at 52 weeks versus the fortnight for paternity leave.

“A take-or-lose approach to parental leave for each parent is the only model that works to promote beneficial involvement of both parents in children’s lives,” he said.

The ‘use it or lose it’ paternity program was introduced in Sweden and Iceland in the 1990s and has been widely recognized as a huge success.

In 1995, while Iceland did not have paid paternity leave, men only took 0.1% of the leave. Five years later, when fathers were entitled to two weeks of paid leave – as in Britain today – it rose to 3% of total leave.

Now, with every parent in Iceland entitled to five months’ leave and paid 80% of their salary, men take 30% of the total.

Previous reform attempts have had minimal impact. In 2015, the coalition government introduced shared parental leave as a flagship policy, but participation rates remain low as qualification requirements make up to half of households ineligible. The lump sum payment of £ 150 per week is, according to experts, around half of the living wage.

Such an approach helps explain why the UK is currently 28 out of 31 of the richest countries in the world in a recent ranking of family-friendly policies by Unicef.

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