A HUMAN resources organisation has published a report which claims almost half of the organisations they surveyed support increasing paternity leave duration and pay.

46 per cent support extending statutory paternity/partner leave and pay, with 29 per cent of those backing an extension to six weeks or more, according to a report by the CIPD, an association for human resource management professionals.

In response, the CIPD is urging the government to increase statutory paternity/partner leave from one to two weeks’ leave to six weeks, either at or near the full rate of pay.

Currently, under statutory paternity leave, employees can choose to take either one or two consecutive weeks’ leave if they have been employed for at least 26 weeks.

Statutory paternity pay for eligible employees is currently either £156.66 a week or 90 per cent of their average weekly earnings, whichever is lower. 

The CIPD’s new Employer Focus on Working Parent Report surveyed 2,000 employers, and found that 46 per cent support the extension, and 33 per cent of those believe this should be extended to four weeks.

29 per cent think it should be extended to either six weeks or more.

Most organisations (49 per cent) have a paternity/partner leave policy which provides the current statutory leave entitlement and pay.   

Daphne Doody-Green, head of CIPD Northern England, said: “The government needs to extend statutory paternity/partner leave and pay as this would help balance caring responsibilities and provide more financial support to working parents.

“Among other recommendations for the government in this report, is the need for more affordable childcare from the end of maternity leave and to make flexible working requests a day-one right for everyone.”

However, Suzanne Caldwell, managing director at Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, doesn’t think paternity leave or pay should be extended.

She said: “I’m very surprised by these figures, particularly so at the current time.

“It isn’t something that we’ve surveyed businesses about but I’d be staggered if a similar percentage of the businesses we engage with, or indeed the wider business population were of this view at the current time.

“While most businesses seek to be good and supportive employers, businesses are under extreme pressure and those pressures are expected to continue for quite some time.

“Energy costs are continuing to spiral and other input costs continue to increase, including wages. Alongside this, increasingly hard-pressed consumers are looking to economise and this reduced spending will work its way through the supply chain.

“In addition to these pressures businesses are continuing to struggle to recruit and retain sufficient staff, and many have already had to reduce opening times and/or service levels.

“Extending paternity leave will only put even more pressure, not just on businesses but on other staff. This is not the time to consider such a measure.”

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