31 March 2009
EHRC aims to modernise parental leave provisions
In a bid to help tackle the gender pay gap and provide mothers and fathers with more support in bringing up children, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has made a series of proposals.
According to the organisation, the first two weeks of paternity leave at the birth of a child should be retained, but at 90 per cent pay rather than the statutory rate of £117.18 a week.
Fathers should also get a further four months of parental leave, which could be taken after the mother's six months of maternity leave expires and before the child reaches the age of five.
Meanwhile, the EHRC stated that women's statutory maternity leave should be reduced from nine months to six months but all this time should be paid at 90 per cent pay, as opposed to just six weeks.
Chief executive of the commission Nicola Brewer said: "We believe that the Working Better report lays out a road-map to 2020 which will put Britain ahead of the curve in terms of modern working practices."
Created in October 2007, the EHRC aims to eliminate discrimination, reduce inequality and protect human rights.
Arpita Dutt, employment partner at Russell Jones & Walker, commented: "These proposals challenge traditional gender stereotyping which is presently found in our sex discrimination legislation by beginning to provide some parity between two parents who can share the responsibilities of early years childcare through these assisted workplace measures.
"The measures could also reduce the significant economic and professional disadvantages that women face when returning to work after periods of maternity absence."