Dad’s the word for paternity rights

A large proportion of SMEs are sympathetic to fathers having their paternity leave rights extended.

In a poll conducted by, 45 per cent of respondents said that an extension was only fair.

Neil Southgate, owner of printing company Labelnet, is a father of two and believes that men should be encouraged to spend more time with their children.

‘I think it’s a good idea, as long as it doesn’t financially burden small businesses. With the requisite government support and flexible working, it shouldn’t be a problem,’ he adds.

Last month, the Equality and Human Rights Commission proposed that statutory maternity leave should be cut from nine months to six to give fathers more paid time off to spend with their children.

Nicola Brewer, chief executive of the commission, says: ‘Changing the way we approach parental leave could be one way of tackling the gender pay gap.’

However, of the 361 small businesses polled, 42 per cent said that new legislation would be too expensive to implement.

Angela Armar, assistant at law firm Davenport Lyons, says that for some SMEs, a change in legislation could make it extremely difficult for their businesses to survive.

A Department for Business spokesman said that no date has been set for extending paternity rights. ‘We are continuing to review the appropriateness of all new regulations due to come into force in the current economic climate. It is only right that in tough economic times we look afresh at the costs and benefits of new regulations,’ he adds.

Also see: How can employers encourage fathers to take shared parental leave?

Related Topics

Paternity leave