18 July 2019 | UK NEWS

Speaking to parents in south-west London today, Theresa May launched a consultation on parental leave and entitlement for fathers which could see them allowed to spend more time with their newborn.

The consultation will ask for opinions on whether paternity leave for fathers and same-sex couples should be changed whilst ideas on ways the parental leave policy introduced in 2015 could be improved will also be asked for.

Theresa May wants to challenge the current system which assumes the mother is the most important carer in a child’s early life.

The outgoing Prime Minister said: “The experience of parenting has changed almost beyond recognition over the past 40 years, with fathers wanting to share caring responsibilities more equally from the outset. In introducing shared parental leave, we have taken significant steps to support parents to do this, but all too often it is still mothers, not fathers, who shoulder the burden of childcare. It is clear that we need to do more and that’s why today we have launched a consultation calling for views on how we can improve the current system.”

100,000 babies are admitted to neonatal care every year following their birth, say estimations and for fathers and partners, that means typically their whole two weeks of paternity leave is spent with the mother and baby in hospital. The consultation asks people if parents should receive one week of neonatal leave and pay for every week their baby is in hospital – this includes mothers, fathers and partners.

Mrs May said: “Parents have more than enough on their plates without worrying about their parental leave running out and having to return to work before their precious newborn comes home. That’s not fair and it’s not right. So we’re also proposing a new neonatal leave and pay entitlement to make this time a bit easier for parents whose babies need to spend a prolonged period in neonatal care.”

May finished by saying: “The consultation will also consider whether firms should publish their leave, pay and flexible working policies and whether there should be a requirement to consider advertising jobs as ‘flexible'”.

Hugo is a political commentator and aspiring MP. His interests include homelessness, democracy and influencing policy. He is also the CEO of a charity responding to homelessness.


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