“Chunks”?

18 January 2011

Currently fathers of new babies are entitled to two weeks paid leave (Ordinary Paternity Leave) when their child is born provided they have been working for their employer for six months. Additional Paternity Leave is due to be introduced in April 2011 and will allow fathers to take up to 26 weeks leave in one block.

However a new reform suggested by Nick Clegg yesterday and (potentially to be implemented in 2015) will allow a mother and father the opportunity to combine and take up to one year (paid or unpaid), in one big block or in chunks between them.

Whilst the aim is laudable, the affect on employers will make it unworkable. The inequality in pay and numbers will almost certainly be helped by the sharing of childcare but whether this plan is feasible will come down to what is meant by “chunks”; if the chunks are periods of say 2 weeks, new mothers and fathers could be requesting leave on a fortnightly basis. Only those employers with huge resources will be able to cope.