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Our call for businesses to back shared parental leave

Parental Leave

Barnardo’s is urging employers to support a new law allowing fathers of new babies to share parental leave with their partners.

From April 5, parents of all babies born or adopted are now able to split up to 52 weeks of shared parental leave between them as well as up to 39 weeks of statutory shared parental pay. But we are warning that the legislation won’t have the desired impact unless businesses give it full backing.

We are calling upon organisations to support and encourage parents to share parental leave. We would also like measures to be put in place to reduce the social stigma of fathers taking time off to be with their children, with research finding that 70% of part-time working fathers think there is a social stigma attached to paternity leave.

The new measures 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 job security. The legislation applies equally for same sex and adoptive couples.

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.

Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan said: “Leave to look after children is not only a woman’s issue. This law can spearhead a profound cultural change and tackle long-standing gender-biased attitudes to parenting.

This will ensure even the most vulnerable children have parental support in the earliest stages of their life, regardless of whether their parents are in a same sex relationship or they are adopted. But there’s a danger it could run into the sand quickly unless employers give it their full support.”

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