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Government Announce Consultation on Paternity Leave

Government to Consult on Extending Paternity Leave

FNF lobbying is making a difference. Could properly funded Paternity Leave become a reality?

Yesterday the Government announced their intention to consult on extending paternity leave. It would be difficult to over-state the importance of this initiative. When other countries introduced policies that properly support paternity leave, this was the single biggest factor that began the process of shared parenting after family separation. We will keep you informed of details of this consultation as they become available.

For the last three years or FNF have stepped up our lobbying for provision for paternity leave to be substantially increased. The penny dropped after we attended a powerful presentation at the Scottish Parliament by Malin Bergsrom of Karolinska Institute in Sweden. Her presentation and subsequent discussions with her convinced us that this is one of the most important factors in transforming our culture towards shared parenting whether together or apart. When Sweden introduced equality legislation in the 1970s they took this responsibility far more seriously than we did. Over time they supported generously funded, non-transferable paternity leave it i.e. it was introduced on a 'use it or lose it' basis for three months or more. Since then shared parenting after family separation has grown by approximately 1% a year. Indeed, that is not just 'shared parenting', but rather 'joint parenting' which is defined as roughly 50/50 and no less than 35%. Today when parents in Sweden separate joint care or 50/50 care is considered to be the norm. Amazingly they achieve this with just 4% relying on courts, compared to 38% here.

Other Scandinavian countries pursued similar policies. Finland, a couple of years ago, became the first and only country where fathers spend more time caring for their children than mothers - only by eight minutes a day, so in effect they have achieved parental equality.

The Scandinavians believe in research and they have studied the effect of their policies on their societies. The results have been impressive, not least on the children who enjoy joint care and experience fewer mental health difficulties and do better on a whole range of measures of wellbeing.

Meanwhle back home, for a couple on average incomes of £27,500 each a year, matrnity leave is supported by the state to the tune of around £7,500. The only guaranteed state support for paternity leave that dad's can rely on is £148.68 per week for two weeks - a gender support gap of 96%!

We have been using these studies to lobby our politicians and using opportunities to promote paternity leave whenever those opportunities have arisen. We've done this with the Women and Equalities Select Committee, individual MPs, even whilst sharing a lift with Jess Phillips MP. Last week we called out Stella Creasy MP for seeking to blame fathers for not taking more time off to look after children. She made her comments at the launch in Parliament of the latesst British Social Attitudes report published by the National Centre for Social Research. Their study showed that in just six years between 2012 and 2018 the proportion of the public who supported 50/50 parental leave had gone up from 22% to 34%! Our question to the panel and Ms Creasy sparked a 10 minute debate with a room of professionals and parliamentarians.

Last year the Women and Equalities Select Committee Inquiry recommended that paternitly leave should be supported at a rate of 90% of pay for a month. The Government rejected the proposal. The Committee's recommendations were essentially intnded to support a reduction in the 'gender pay gap'. Whatever their reasons, we supported them, perhaps even taking them and the Government by surprise as to the extent of our support. That Theresa May has now put this firmly on the agenda is a parting gift from the Prime Miniser that we should welcome.

We'll keep you posted on the consultation.


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  • Today's Metro reports on actress Anna Friel's struggles with work-family balance. Great to see her say she sacrificed an LA career as "it would have taken Gracie away from her father and friends". Previously it had been reported that she said of her ex “He’s a great dad and lives just across the road.". Parents working together and prioritising their daughter! Hope it continues to work out. Help us to make family separation better for children by following us, liking and sharing our posts, making a donation, becoming a member or registering for free.
  • The third case reported in a month or so of children killed by a mother with a range of difficulties in her life. On the face of it the father's opportunities to be involved with the children were limited. Another tragic case that adds to the weight of evidence that the narrow focus of the current review of child protection in family courts, focusing essentially on risks posed by men, is too narrow to address the underlying and wider issues around child safety. The Ministry of Justice called for the review following a Victoria Derbyshire show in May focusing on four selected child homicides where the father was the perpetrator. Our thoughts are with all the family. You can support us by registering for free, following us, liking/sharing our posts, becoming a member or making a donation.
  • Parental Alienation - A great interview by RTE1 in Ireland with Brian O'Sullian, Consultant Systemic Family Psychotherapist who deals with PA cases. Please support us by following us, liking and sharing posts, registering for free, becoming a member or making a donation.
  • Yet another tragic case in the space of weeks that challenges the mistaken gendered narrative about child homicides being at the hands of fathers. The bereft dad told the court the mother was emotionally controlling "she knew it was the ultimate punishment" he said and "How I wish I had never taken them back to her. I only did this because I thought every mum deserves to be with their kids." Our thoughts are with the father and all the family. Please support us by following us, sharing and liking our posts, becoming a member, registering for free or making a donation.
  • Families Need Fathers shared a post.There’s going to be a debate on the CMS (Child Maintenance Service)on Tuesday next week in the House of Commons. The MP leading this wants to hear about your experiences of it. Please comment on the House of Commons post for your chance to feed into the debate. The post contains a link to a private platform if you wish you submit your comments in private. The deadline for responses is midday on Monday 22nd July 2019.
  • A couple of weeks ago a 'guest blog' by, self styled 'feminist' barrister Charlotte Proudman was posted on the Transparency Project's Website. Her comments follow on from her appearance alongside FNF on the Victoria Derbyshire Show on 15th May 2019 when she said that Parental Alienation "really turns my stomach", the existence of which she questioned. Child Protection Resource website published our response to the Family Inquiry Panel and the feelings and dogma that are being promoted in this discussion. Please support us by sharing and liking our posts, following us, becoming a member, registering for free or making a donation.

FNF HSSF Kite Mark Award

Families Need Fathers has been awarded the Help and Support for Separated Families Kite Mark which is a new UK government accreditation scheme for organisations offering help to separated families.

Families Need Fathers work with a range of family law professionals, including Family Law Panel


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