Madonna - Raising the Profile of Employment Rights and Raising Children

High profile adoptive parent, Madonna, dug the first part of the foundations of the school she is building in Malawi. She has taken her two adopted children on a trip back to Africa to see their friends and remaining family.

One person she wants to meet up with is the father of her adopted daughter Mercy. The importance of fathers’ involvement at the early stage of child rearing has been much discussed in recent years and the rights of employed fathers are back in the news again.

Almost half of fathers fail to take up their right to two weeks' paternity leave and the Government has recently announced that it intends to introduce additional paternity leave for fathers of children due on or after 3rd April 2011. Fathers will be able to take up to six months of paternity leave once the mother returns to work. With the new plans, maternity leave may become transferrable, enabling mothers of children due on or after 3rd April 2011 to transfer up to six months of their maternity leave to the father when they return to work. This may or not be paid leave, depending upon the amount of statutory maternity pay already received by the mother. Similar rules will apply to adoptive parents.

The proposed new rules are due to come into force from next April. However, the draft regulations do not affect the maternity or adoption pay period and there are no plans to increase this period to 12 months, in line with the period of leave, as was promised previously.

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