Paternity leave still lagging behind Sweden

As the UK General Election approaches, political parties are offering all sorts of promises to voters. The Labour Party has just offered to double the amount of paid paternity leave to new fathers from 2 to 4 weeks and increase stututory paternity pay to £260/week.  No doubt other political parties will offer other support for fathers.

A significant number of fathers tell us that their relationship broke down not long after the baby was born, and we would therefore support any measures which take some of the strain off parents in those earl;y weeks and months. 

It is also welcome to see measures that emphasise the caring role of fathers right from the outset, as this can often be a problem when parents split up and it is suggested that the father does not have the capacity to look after babies or young children.

The UK still lags far behind countries such as Sweden in supporting paternity leave. 

In Sweden, where it’s cool to be a daddy, families are given a staggering 480 days of state sponsored (and paid!) leave in order to raise their offspring.

It is custom in Sweden for mothers to take the first four months of leave while their husbands take the second period in order to care for their children. The hope is that this system can provide balance and harmony, both for the little people and their parents.

Without making a professional sacrifice, fledgling fathers are offered the chance to bond with their children to promote an egalitarian approach to sharing the burden of parental responsibilities. A new “equality bonus” has also been introduced that allows some families to earn an extra €1,500 if the time off is shared equally between mummy and daddy.