Paternity Leave Hugely Extended in UK: Mother-Father Equality?
A paternity leave law is being passed in the UK - mothers will be able to chose to go back to work during the last six month's on their baby's first year. During this time, fathers are allowed a 6-month paternity leave with 3-months paid.
Fathers currently get 2 weeks paternity leave while mothers are offered one full year. The law will vastly change the mother's post-pregnancy year as she can split up the parental leave time with her child's father, and will perhaps even change the way child care is seen as a woman`s domain.
The new rights will be in effect for parents after April 3, 2001, the independent reports. The law has created anxiety about how fewer people in the workplace will disrupt commercial activity and affect the economic recession.
The plans have angered bosses, who say extended rights for fathers will be hugely disruptive, particularly for smaller firms.
The British Chamers of Commerce are against the new law saying it is extremely badly times given the economic downturn:
'There is absolutely no guarantee that businesses are going to be back to full health by 2011. This is going to be an administrative nightmare for businesses. It's going to be a huge diversion for companies when they can least afford it.'
However, these concerns are based on the idea that men`s jobs are more valuable to the economy than women`s jobs, because the law does not enable both parents to be off-work at the same time. Rather, the two take turns staying at home.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown celebrated the new law and touted the egalitarian values of the Labour party during his speech in Liverpool.
Skeptics say that the new law is a support-building strategy for the Labour Party, in response to parental leave extensions increasing Labour support among young working parents, iol reports.
As well as a sop to the unions, the move will be seen as naked electioneering.