Twenty-nine per cent of those back an extension to either six weeks or more.
A new poll by the CIPD shows that almost half of organisations support extending statutory paternity/partner leave and pay.
The CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, surveyed 2,000 senior decision-makers and found a third of those believe it should be extended to four weeks and 29% think it should be extended to either six weeks or more.
Currently, under statutory paternity leave, employees can choose to take either one or two consecutive weeks’ leave if they have been employed for at least 26 weeks. Statutory paternity pay for eligible employees is currently either £156.66 a week or 90% of their average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.
Claire McCartney, senior policy adviser at the CIPD, says, “These survey findings reinforce our policy call to extend statutory paternity/partner leave and pay, which will help balance caring responsibilities, reflect the changing nature of modern families and provide much-needed financial support to working parents. Extended paternity/partner leave can have emotional benefits for parents and children, as well as improving the gender pay gap, as it enables a more equal split of time out of work to care for children.”
The findings also highlight very few new parents are using shared parental leave; 85% of organisations say no new fathers/partners have taken up shared parental leave in the past two years.
“Our research suggests that shared parental leave in its current form isn’t working,” says McCartney. “Take-up continues to be very low and we have seen a downward trend since 2016.”
The CIPD is urging the Government to increase statutory paternity/partner leave to six weeks, either at or near the full rate of pay, to help families balance caring responsibilities and provide more financial support for working parents. It is also calling on them to provide affordable childcare from the end of maternity leave and to make flexible working requests a day one right.
McCartney continues: “There is also a need for reform in current childcare and early years education provision. Taking these steps to extend statutory paternity/partner leave and enabling affordable childcare from the end of maternity leave will create more opportunities and flexibility for working parents, by allowing them to return to work earlier if they choose to.”