All dads should be given four-weeks paternity leave, says MSP

SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor has today launched a campaign calling for employers to offer better paternity leave.

New dads can take up to 2 weeks’ statutory paternity leave to help care for their new-born baby, while some employers offer enhanced leave or pay.

Fulton MacGregor will argue that the UK government should double statutory paternity leave to four weeks – and is calling on Scottish employers to voluntarily offer enhanced leave in the meantime.

All Scottish Government employees are currently entitled to four weeks’ paternity leave, and Mr MacGregor is calling on other employers to match this.

A number of studies have found a link between longer paternity leave and a range of positive outcomes, including greater maternal well-being, reduced incidence of postnatal depression and fewer behavioural problems in children.

Commenting, Fulton MacGregor said: “The early weeks of parenthood are wonderful, and can be hugely challenging.

“As a dad to a young family myself, I know that it can be very difficult to go back to work after a couple of weeks and just leave a new mum to get on with it.

“Women are still expected to provide the majority of care for their children in the early years, but most men want to play a bigger role in parenting.

“There’s a wealth of evidence that longer paternity leave can encourage greater involvement of fathers in the future, with a range of benefits to the child and parents.

“The UK government should increase the legal entitlement to paternity leave – but in the meantime, employers in Scotland should take a lead by offering a better deal to their workers.

“I’m calling on employers to recognise the enormous benefits to their employees of a better paternity deal and offer four weeks leave to new dads – just as the Scottish Government already does.”