Monday, 16 May 2011

Will fathers be tempted by £128 a week?

How will the new arrangements for paternity pay look to fathers? It'll still look daunting to take time off, as it can do for mothers as well.

What's expected is that fathers will get six week's paternity leave, up from two weeks at the moment.

Then they will be able to agree with the mother to share 7 months of her maternity leave, 4 months of which would be paid.

So the couple could arrange things so the father gets 5 and a half months paid leave. At least that's what will be up for consultation.

The problem is that statutory paternity pay is £128 a week.

That is a lot better than nothing. But it is very much less than mid-range or median pay of £499 a week. And also less than average weekly household spending, which is just under £460 a week.

Some families will have saved up, or the mother will be bringing home enough to enable the father to take the leave, or the employer might provide more help.

But many others will find it hard to make ends meet if he goes down to £128 a week for nearly half a year.

How many fathers would actually be in a position to take the extra time off?

One thing worth remembering, though, is that if household income goes down, the family might be entitled to more tax credit.

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