An update on our campaign for more and better-paid paternity and parental leave for new fathers
We are delighted to report that more than 14,400 people across the UK signed our ‘6 weeks for dads’ Parliamentary petition, which launched in July 2023 and reached its 6-month deadline on 11 January.
The petition called on the Government to introduce two weeks’ paternity leave and a ‘daddy month’ of non-transferable parental leave (in the baby’s first year) as a Day 1 right for all employed fathers/second parents – and for all this leave to be reimbursed to employers at 90% of salary (with a cap for high earners). It also calls for a Paternity Allowance for other fathers/second parents, like the Maternity Allowance currently available for mothers ineligible to maternity leave.
People living in 649 out of the 650 UK Parliamentary constituencies signed the petition, with the highest responses coming from Labour-held constituencies in London and Bristol. See below a table of the Top 10 constituencies by number of signatures. You can see an interactive map of signatures by constituency here.
Top 10 UK constituencies by number of petition signatures
Lyn Brown (Lab)
Leyton & Wanstead
John Cryer (Lab)
Karin Smyth (Lab)
Bell Ribeiro-Addy (Lab)
Sir Stephen Timms (Lab)
Dr Rosina Allin-Khan (Lab)
Camberwell & Peckham
Rt.Hon Harriet Harman (Lab)
Stella Creasy (Lab)
Florence Eshalomi (Lab)
Kerry McCarthy (Lab)
What we've achieved so far
The fact that we have surpassed 10,000 signatures means that the Government must now respond to the petition. This milestone is achieved by fewer than 2% of petitions submitted to the Parliamentary petitions website, and reaching it is a big achievement for our small organisation – especially given that we have no specific funding for policy work. And we look forward to hearing the response to our proposal, which outlines a specific model for an improved 'offer' for fathers, rather than a vague demand for 'something better'.
We’re hugely grateful to everyone who signed the petition and helped spread the word about it. We’ve made so many useful connections since the petition went live, and we look forwarding to building on these as our work in this area develops. A special mention must go to Pregnant Then Screwed, who helped us smash our target. Their support, both specifically in terms of giving us access to a wider audience in the last few days before the petition closed, and more generally in their ongoing campaigning for more and better paid leave for fathers, is invaluable to our cause.
The ‘6 weeks for dads’ model described in our petition would, if implemented, give mothers and fathers equal access to well-paid leave in their baby's first year – and we firmly believe that its design (two weeks’ paternity plus four weeks’ parental leave) could help reduce the ‘motherhood penalty’, lower families’ dependence on paid-for childcare, and boost child outcomes by providing children with substantial ‘time with dad’ in the all-important first year.
So what’s next? Well at some point soon we should be receiving the Government’s response to the petition, and we’ll keep you updated about that via our newsletters and social media channels.
In the meantime, we’ve been busy taking some next steps to build on the petition’s success:
We’ve written to the 10 MPs whose constituencies registered the highest number of voters, to let them know that this is a live issue for the people they represent.
We’ve written to some other key MPs, telling them about the petition and offering them one-to-one briefings about '6 weeks for dads' and our other policy ideas, as outlined in our Manifesto for Supporting Paternal Caregiving.
We're working on a bid for funding to help us build our campaign pre- and post- 2024 General Election. We'll update you on that as soon as we can.
How you can help
Write to your MP. To help keep the pressure up, we want to encourage as many people as possible to contact their MPs, to argue the case for 6 weeks for dads. We’ve created a template letter you can download below. Just edit it to include your own reasons for supporting the campaign, and send it to your MP (find their contact details by typing in your postcode at They Work For You).
Once you’ve sent the letter, let the world know in a social media post – and tag us on X/Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram. You'll find some downloadable images to use in your posts, at the end of this blog.
Share your story. We’ve created a form that you can fill in, to share your story with us. This is important because we need to put a human face on our campaign. Why do you support the campaign for 6 weeks for dads? Maybe you weren't able to take time off when your baby was born, or your partner couldn't; perhaps the opposite is true, and your experience has been positive and transformational. Whatever your story, please share it with us – and if you’d be willing to speak to the press, please let us know. The more case studies we can gather, the more likely we are to gain valuable media coverage for the campaign.
Stay in touch. If you haven’t already, please sign up for our newsletters (at the bottom of this webpage), and follow our social media pages (at the top). And please consider making a donation to help us push things forward.
Images to let your network know you've written to your MP in support of this campaign - don't forgot to tag us!
Twitter / X