What happens to maternity leave if a mother dies . . .?

7 February 2011

Additional Paternity Leave – how one woman (with the Fatherhood Institute) made a difference …

When Julie Cappleman-Morgan had her first child in the early 1990s, her baby’s father had no right to paid leave

Julie was left on her own during the day to care for their daughter – which suited neither parent.  Later, as a mature student, as part of her Masters degree in Social Research Methodology, she undertook research into the experiences of expectant and new fathers to see if (like her partner) modern dads really did want to participate more equally in their children’s care and whether health service practices and parental leave policies helped or hindered them.

During this research (‘Daddy Cool: are health and parenting policies ‘freezing out’ new fathers’ – 2003) she discovered that if, sadly, the mother died, the baby’s father had no right to paid leave to care for their baby.  Her maternity leave died with her.

By that stage, adoptive parents could already choose which partner would take the ‘maternity leave’ and the shorter ‘paternity leave’, regardless of gender or biological need.  So Julie felt that the situation for a bereaved father was sex discrimination.   She was also amazed that it hadn’t been picked up by anyone before!

And so she contacted the Fatherhood Institute (then Fathers Direct) who helped bring her findings to the notice of government policy-makers.  Julie (and the FI) are delighted to note that the Additional Paternity Leave regulations have now finally addressed this inequality . . .If a new mother dies, her partner is not only entitled to his own Additional Paternity Leave after 26 weeks, but can take the mother’s earlier maternity leave, starting from Day One.

Read more about the new Additional Paternity Leave regulations  . . . .

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