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21 March 2018

Does fatherhood hold the key to closing the gender pay gap?

Thoughtful article from Duncan Fisher in Personnel Today, picking up on the findings of the Women and Equalities Committee's report on fathers and the workplace. 

The report's recommendations are framed to balance the needs of fathers, mothers and employers. The key recommendations are: 

  • Fathers who are employees should be entitled to paid time off to attend antenatal appointments as a day-one right. 
  • Statutory paternity pay should be paid at 90 per cent of the father’s pay (capped for higher earners) to ensure that all fathers, regardless of income, can be at home around the time of their child’s birth; 
  • The Government should consider the costs and benefits of introducing a new policy of 12 weeks’ dedicated leave for fathers in the child’s first year to replace shared parental leave when it reviews this policy in 2018; 
  • The Government should seek to legislate immediately to make a reality the Prime Minister’s call for all jobs to be advertised as flexible from day one, unless there are solid business reasons not to; 
  • The Government should act now to harmonise workplace rights for fathers who are agency workers or self-employed with those for employed fathers where practical; 
  • To help drive the cultural change in the workplace that the Government wishes to see, it should consider the benefits of amending the protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010 to add an additional characteristic of ‘paternity’, looking at what period such a characteristic would cover and to which groups of working fathers it would apply
The report says: "The review of shared parental leave in 2018 is an opportunity that must not be missed to consider how best to remove the barriers to fathers fulfilling their caring obligations to their children and to mothers participating fully in the workplace. Ultimately this will help to reduce pay inequalities."

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