As we look at the actions taken by the government, more focus is laid upon the idea of give working fathers a more flexible choice in order to take care of their children. The aim is to provide working fathers with more of an opportunity to participate in the growth process of their children and for this purpose many types of paternity leave programmes and plans have been introduced by the government, such as paid paternity leave, the right to request flexible working, and now APL, that is, additional paternity leave.
According to the government statistics it has been estimated that approximately 10,000-20,000 fathers would be able to take this kind of paternity leave in order to benefit their children’s development. It might not be obvious but a child needs the attention of both his father and mother right after his birth and while the father is working he is not able to give his child that much attention and care. Additional paternity leave would benefit the fathers to take leave from their work from 2-26 weeks after the birth up until the child’s first birthday, but the father would only be able to take this kind of leave after the mother returns to work. According to the new paternity plan, fathers would be paid for their additional leave within the statutory maternity pay (SMP) period and according to the SMP rate.
It is necessary that at least 8 weeks before, the employee who wants to take the additional paternity leave should provide the employer with a notice stating the reason for his leave, which is to take care of the child. In addition, this statement should be written and signed by the employee as well. The mother of the child also has to sign the declaration to confirm the father’s statement. And when it comes to the employer he has the right to investigate whether the information given by both parents is right or not and whether the father is eligible to be paid for the paternity leave period or not. For this purpose he may require the child’s birth certificate, and the name and address of the mother’s employer.
It is really important to inform the employer about 6 weeks before the paternity leave starts, as the employer has to find a replacement for that employee, which can be quite a burden. And both the employee and employer should confirm the dates of starting and ending of the leave to avoid any conflicting situation. It is better to have all these details in writing so that both have a confirmation of the whole paternity leave time period and the employee would be protected against any kind of dismissal after returning from the leave.
This plan may be quite beneficial for working fathers as they would be able to take care of their child in a better environment, but for the employer it may be an extra administrative cost and they would have to find replacements for the time period in which the fathers are on paternity leave.