To: Mims Davies MP: Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Employment)

Make new parent's lives easier!

Make new parent's lives easier!

Dear Mims Davies,
With the evaluation of the Shared Parental Leave Legislation being due out later this year, I wanted to take the opportunity to outline the need for overhauling the partner/paternity and shared parental leave legislation to provide a much longer fully paid paternal/longer and more flexible shared parental leave legislation. The reasons are as follows:
• Children do better and are safer – studies show that a longer paternity leave length leads to a reduction in infant injury rate, and has been linked to better cognitive outcomes
• Better outcomes for partners – extra time allows them to bond with their baby, and take full advantage of this special time in their lives.
• Increase in gender equality – a longer partner/paternity leave enables a partner/father be more family orientated (which has shown to last in the longer term), take on more childcaring responsibilities and improve outcomes for women (both in long term health and financially)
• Provide critical support for the birth mother in the crucial postpartum period. Recovery period of birth varies massively, but support for recovery is critical to ensure positive outcomes for the whole family. For example, 1 in 4 women have caesarean sections which take an average of 6 weeks to recover from during which simple activities to support a family are unable to be carried out e.g. driving. Another example includes perinatal mental health problems affecting between 10 to 20% of women during pregnancy and the first year after having a baby. With a large percentage of new mothers suffering some form of complication, the reassurance and support of the partner will provide better outcomes for the family.
• To bring the UKs outdated rules in line with other OEDC countries. The world policy centre study shows 24 of 34 OECD countries guarantee at least 14 weeks of paid leave to fathers of infants and 21 out of 34 OECD countries guarantee at least 6 months of paid leave to fathers of infants.
• The world policy centre study shows no negative economic effect of a more generous paternity policy.
• There is a low take up of the Shared Parental Leave offering. This is thought to be due to fathers lack of qualification for the policy or the family loosing out financially if taken up.
This will improve the lives for many, with little adverse effects, and will help make those times we live for, even more special and less stressful.

Best Wishes

Why is this important?

Improve the partner/paternity leave offering:
• Children are safer
• Better for the partner
• Support for the mother (particularly important during the postpartum period) - better outcomes for mother and baby
• Bring in line with many other countries
• Studies show there is no negative impact to the economy