Make parental leave equal for mothers and fathers.

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When my son, Jack, was born, I was elated. He was small and beautiful with fingers that were so tiny and delicate. I didn’t think it was possible to love something as much as I loved him. Every fibre of my being wanted to spend as much time with him as possible, but we simply couldn’t afford for me to do that, so with a heavy heart I returned to work.

The current system means that employed fathers are paid £140 a week for any time they take off with their child. Employed mothers can access 6 weeks maternity leave at 90% of their salary, but fathers cannot. Why, in 2017, do we still not view parenting and care as the equal responsibility of both parents? Why do we still financially incentivise mothers to take leave, but we don’t do the same for fathers?

I couldn’t understand why I was not being supported to take time out to care for my child when paternity leave has obvious and considerable benefits for children, families and women’s careers - not to mention a father’s mental health.

That’s why I’m calling on the UK Govt. to give​ ​both parents ​six​ ​weeks​ parental ​leave​ ​paid​ ​at​ ​90%​ ​of​ ​their​ ​salary​ ​to​ ​create​ ​equal​ ​parental leave.

Studies show that involved dads raise happier and healthier children, who have improved learning outcomes. Paternity leave has a direct impact on a child’s performance in secondary school.

Some people think that only mothers are naturally equipped to care for children, but fathers are just as capable of developing these neural pathways.

To create a society where equality thrives, we first need equality in a home environment. We will never achieve that while our legislation favours only mothers caring for their offspring over fathers.

It is too late for Jack and I. Those early years have passed us by but it is important we make a change for the future of our children, for families and for gender equality.

We need the Government to make maternity and paternity leave equal by giving fathers access to 6 weeks paternity leave paid at 90% of their salary. Same sex couples should also have equal access to parental leave. 

Please sign and share.
Tom Higham, (Jack’s Daddy and board member Pregnant Then Screwed)