The Women and Equalities Committee has published a new report calling for significant reforms to workplace policies to support fathers at work. According to the report, recent policies on flexible working and shared parental leave represent positive steps forward, but have failed to create the necessary cultural change in the workplace.

Key recommendations in the report are as follows:

  • employed fathers should be entitled to paid time off to attend antenatal appointments as a day one right
  • statutory paternity pay should be paid at 90% of the father’s pay (capped for higher earners)
  • the government should consider introducing a new right of 12 weeks’ paternity leave in place of the current right to take shared parental leave
  • all jobs should be advertised as flexible, unless there are solid business reasons for not doing so
  • workplace rights for agency workers and self-employed should be harmonised with those of employed fathers, where practical
  • the government should consider amending the Equality Act 2010 with a new protected characteristic of ‘paternity’.

It is unlikely that many (if any) of these recommendations will be taken forward by the government, but it will need to respond to the committee’s report and address its findings, particularly given the forthcoming review of the right to take shared parental leave.