New right to attend antenatal appointments is welcome, but it should be paid

1 October 2014

Jeremy Davies writes:

The Fatherhood Institute welcomes expectant dads’ new right to take time off for antenatal appointments, which starts today.

But we will continue to push for the next Government to make this a paid right – and we recommend that employers demonstrate their commitment to gender equality by offering the time off at full pay.

‘Engaging fathers from the earliest possible opportunity is vital,’ says Fatherhood Institute joint chief executive Adrienne Burgess. ‘Research tells us that involving dads in scans and building on that contact to support their hands-on involvement through pregnancy, birth and beyond, we can improve outcomes for children and make families stronger. The best employers will recognise that through generous paternity packages, including paid time off for antenatal appointments, they can improve retention of their male staff.’

As of today, expectant dads have the right to take unpaid time off work to accompany their pregnant wife or partner to up to 2 of her ante-natal appointments.

The right extends to the spouse or civil partner of the pregnant woman, or a person (of either sex) in a long term relationship with her. It applies whether the child is conceived naturally or through donor insemination, or via a surrogacy arrangement.

The expectant dad is entitled to unpaid leave for 1 or 2 appointments, with the time off capped at six and a half hours for each appointment.

Employees will be eligible to take advantage of the new right straight away without accruing a minimum period of service. Qualifying agency workers are required to have been doing the same kind of job for the same hirer for at least 12 weeks.

For more details about the new right, see our new Dads’ FAQ.

Read our Research Summary: Supportive fathers, healthy mothers.

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