Across the country, Usdaw reps and activists will be campaigning in workplaces to highlight the raw deal working dads and partners of new mothers get when it comes to time off work for after the birth of a baby. They will be asking colleagues to complete a survey to help the union build a picture of the further support working dads and families need.
John Hannett - Usdaw General Secretary says:
“Most Usdaw members are, or will be at some point during their working lives, parents or carers or both. So all year round we campaign and negotiate for our members who are parents and carers and hold an annual spotlight day on a particular issue. This year we are focussing on winning a better deal for dads and partners of new mothers.
“When we talk about paternity leave and pay we usually think of dads, although they are not the only ones who are eligible. Foster carers, adoptive parents and intended parents in a surrogacy arrangement may also qualify, so women can take paternity leave and pay too.
“After the birth of a baby, dads and partners of new mothers get just two weeks paternity leave – Usdaw believes this is too short. Most other European countries give dads longer paternity leave.
“Statutory paternity pay is too low. In many of our agreements Usdaw has negotiated full pay for paternity leave but where this hasn’t been possible dads and partners often can’t afford to take the full two weeks leave. Usdaw wants to ensure that all dads and partners of new mothers can afford to take a decent amount of leave at the time of their baby’s birth.
“Our reps and activists bring Usdaw’s campaigns to life and take them into workplaces to engage with members. I’m extremely grateful for the voluntary work they do and I wish them well with their activities tomorrow.”
Usdaw is calling for
improved rights for working dads and partners of new mothers, in particular the right to have:
Many studies show
- Longer and better paid paternity leave.
- A right to paid time off work to attend antenatal appointments with the mother. At present dads and partners have the right to attend two antenatal appointments but this right is unpaid and so of little use to many Usdaw members.
- More flexible paternity leave. At the moment leave must be taken within 56 days of the baby’s birth or placement and can only be taken in blocks of one or two consecutive weeks. We want dads and partners to have more of a say in how and when they take time off.
that helping dads to look after their new-born children has positive knock-on effects for everyone.
- For dads – those who take a decent amount of paternity leave are more likely to take an active role in childcare tasks and to read to their children than those who don’t. These benefits continue even after the period of leave has ended.
- For children – paternity leave has long-term benefits for a child’s learning abilities.
- For mums – paternity leave is good for women’s careers because when childcare responsibilities fall exclusively on the mother, this reduces women’s earnings and their chances of promotion.
Usdaw wants to see the Government and employers do more to support working fathers.
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers)
is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 28% over the decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news
and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion