Monday, 9 February 2015
Labour's paternity plan is great, but it has to be worthwhile.
THE news this morning that Labour would give new dads four weeks off work after the birth of their baby is very welcome.
Having agonisingly crawled to work two weeks after Jacob was born I would have welcomed another two weeks off, if not just to try and build up the courage to tear myself away from him!
But as many things in politics, a welcome announcement on the surface often becomes less so when you dig down to what we call 'reality'.
Paternity leave is wonderful; two weeks off, the Government pay for it, your annual leave is untouched. Your first two weeks as a daddy are taken care of....
However, when you actually look at what is offered, £138, you soon realise that the devil is indeed in the detail.
I earn roughly £300 a week, meaning had I had two weeks off I would have lost over a week's salary! I'm sure that wasn't the intention when paternity leave was created.
This is not a whinge, far from it, the fact that paternity leave even exists is great and that any contribution from the Government is welcome.
But the moment that little bundle arrives, you immediately think about protecting them and keeping them safe and losing money which could be spent on nappies and the like in the first month is a worry you just don't need.
We are lucky in this country to have fathers of relitavely young children in charge of all three parties, so parenting should remain on the agenda.
Labour have a great idea, it would be great now to see it worked through to ensure new dads aren't forced to use their annual leave.
I don't have the answer, I can only speak as a dad who took one week off the state and one week's annual leave when J was born.
Over to you Mr Miliband!