Scots dads to get two months of ‘daddy leave’

Nicola Sturgeon signed off the plans as part of an agenda to make Scotland a beacon of gender equality


Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has signed off ambitious plans for more paternity leave.

The Scottish Government has committed to introducing two ‘daddy months’ of leave. The extra paternity leave will be on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis.

Extra paid time off just for men has been shown to have a significant impact on uptake. When nations like Sweden and Germany set up chunks of ‘use it or lose it’ leave specifically for dads many more men started taking longer periods off at the start of their baby’s lives.

The plan for extra paid paternity leave is part of an 11 point plan aimed at gender equality endorsed by the Scottish Government.

Paternity leave

It echoes plans floated by the Prime Minister Theresa May earlier in the week to massively ramp up the amount of paid paternity leave on offer. English dads would potentially get 12 weeks off under those proposals.

Both schemes are a long way from becoming law however. Theresa May’s ideas are unlikely to survive the change of Prime Minister taking place next month. While the plans adopted by the SNP administration in Edinburgh may require powers the Scottish Parliament doesn’t yet have.

New policies

Sturgeon set up a National Advisory Council on Women and Girls which published its first report in January. The recommendations in that report form the basis of the new policies just announced.

As well as beefing up paid paternity leave – a policy shown to improve life for women by sharing the childcare burden and reducing the pay penalty that comes with maternity leave – the report called for misogynistic harassment to be criminalised, better access to resources for domestic violence victims and more free childcare. It also proposed setting up a body to monitor the media for examples of sexism and to offer guidance on avoiding gender stereotypes.

Sturgeon said that Scotland can become a ‘beacon’ for gender equality. She added, “By accepting the council’s recommendations we will learn from best practice in Scotland and around the world and work towards Scotland being a country where everyone is treated fairly and can achieve their full potential.”

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