Labour set to offer a month of leave for new fathers

The proposed extension of the current two weeks’ parental leave will formally announced on Monday when Gordon Brown unveils the policies he hopes can turn around Labour’s fortunes.

The so-called “Father’s Month” is the most striking of the many “family-friendly” measures included in the 10-chapter manifesto. The document states: “We have already increased paid maternity leave to nine months. We will now introduce a new Father’s Month of four weeks of paid leave over the first year of the baby’s life.”

It is expected that fathers would be able to choose when they took their time off. Fathers are currently entitled to two weeks paid leave, at the rate of £124.88 a week, or 90 per cent of their salary, whichever is lower. Companies claim the money back from the government.

Many feel that such a plan could put a huge strain on the UK’s small and medium sized businesses where the loss of staff members on full pay for a month is an unworkable proposal.

There will also be support for a higher “living wage” of £7.60 an hour.

Mr Brown will again argue that having ridden out the recession, only Labour can “secure the recovery”.

He will repeat his pledge to create one million skilled jobs, and find 200,000 jobs for young people who have been unemployed for six months. Those who refuse to take a job would have their benefits cut.

The current Conservatives’ manifesto for business can be found here
The current Liberal Democrats manifesto for business can be found here