Decision to shelve paternity leave plans welcomed

Decision to shelve paternity leave plans allows time for businesses and politicians to find long-term solution, says CIPD

REPORTS that Lord Mandelson is to shelve plans to extend paid maternity leave to 12 months, and allow fathers to share up to six months of this, have been welcomed by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Mike Emmott, Employee Relations Adviser at the CIPD, said: “The bureaucratic burdens involved in allowing mothers and fathers to share parental leave have always concerned us.  In most cases parents work for different companies – making the administration of the measure potentially very complicated.  What would have been cumbersome in good times could become the straw that breaks the camel’s back in a recession – and could damage the long-term business case for better work-life balance.
“We believe there remains a strong case for more generous paternity leave in the medium term. Without some improvement in paternity leave, the growing political consensus on the need to tackle the gender pay gap will not deliver results.  The demographics of the workplace are changing.  A greater proportion of women are now working and this trend is set to continue.  Responding to these changes requires political leadership.

“While pleased that this particular proposal has been shelved, we do not believe it is sustainable for this issue to be kicked into the long grass.  There is certain to be growing pressure for the issue of paternity leave to be addressed.  The recession-inspired shelving of the existing proposals must be used by politicians and business leaders to come up with workable proposals that balance competing demands in a way that works for business.”