The SNP has unveiled a radical plan to help new parents with enhanced and extended parental leave – including 12 weeks on a use-it-or-lose-it “Daddy leave”.
The party plan would see shared parental leave extended to 64 weeks, with the additional 12 weeks to be ring-fenced for the father in order to encourage take-up.
The plan will be outlined today (Tuesday) by SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon at a campaign visit in Lanark and Hamilton East.
The policy will support parents to spend more time with their young children and increase paternal involvement with their child at an early stage – which is shown to have a lasting impact on the sharing of responsibilities for a child, and as a result support women to re-enter the workplace.
SNP MPs will also fight for:
• increased maternity pay to 100% of average weekly earnings for the first 12 weeks, then 90% for 40 weeks or £150.00, whichever is lower,
• increased statutory paternity leave, with the weekly rate of Paternity Pay to 100% of average weekly earnings for one week then 100% for 2 weeks or £150.00, whichever is lower,
• the right for fathers to take paid leave for six antenatal appointments, rather than the current right of unpaid leave to two appointments,
• extended legal protection against redundancy for pregnant parents, those on shared parental leave, and adoption leave, and new parents for up to six months after their return to work.
Nicola Sturgeon said: “The SNP in government is taking radical action to help young families – almost doubling free childcare, the baby box, our new Best Start Grant and Scottish Child Payment and the women returners scheme to help women back into the workplace.
“But we also need to change societal expectations and make it easier for new dads to take time off with their children.
“Shared parental leave is a good thing, but take up remains stubbornly low.
“Based on international examples, our plan for ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ months available only to the dad – in addition to the year available to new mums – could be a gamechanger.
“Alongside our proposal for an increase of statutory pay, phased in over time, and stronger protections against redundancy for new parents, this plan could have a radical impact.
“A vote for the SNP is a vote to escape Brexit, end austerity and help families across Scotland.”