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New rights for fathers and same-sex partners

Expectant fathers and same-sex partners of pregnant women now have the right to take time off for antenatal appointments, the government has announced.

This right also extends to long-term partners of the mother even if they are not married, or the intended parents of the child in a surrogacy agreement. They have the right to two appointments and can take up to six and a half hours for each. Employers are able to offer more time if they choose.

If the woman’s husband is not the father, both the husband and the father will each be allowed to take time off for two appointments. Additionally, if a man is expecting children with more than one woman, he will be allowed to take time off for each child. However, the government says that they “do not expect this to happen very often”.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills introduced this policy as part of the government’s attempts to encourage fathers and partners to become more involved in the early lives of children.

Jo Swinson, the Employment Relations Minister, said the move would “kick start a culture change in workplaces” to make fathers “feel more confident talking to their employers about taking time off for childcare”.

She added that the next step for the government is the introduction of shared parental leave. This would give mothers and adopters “real choice about when they return to work” and allow fathers “more time to bond with their children”, she claimed.

Shared parental leave will come into effect for children born, or adoptions made, from April 5th 2015 onwards.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. IVFDad says:

    The steps of change are slow but sure. What about IVF children of fathers who are considered “child born out of wedlock”? Is it time to update the language in the laws and more importantly treating ALL children equally? Does it matter to the child whether they are born natural or IVF or adopted or blind or deaf or mute or black or white or born out of wedlock or born to single mother or gay father? The child deserves to be treated equally regardless of what their parent(s) do or did, right?

    • Luke says:

      Who is ‘considering’ this and why does it matter ?

      There is generally no stigma at all in being born out of wedlock any more – whether through IVF or otherwise – marriage has become largely irrelevant, nobody really cares and that is a good thing.

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