Work and Families Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 25th April 2006.

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Photo of Lord Northbourne Lord Northbourne Crossbench 6:15 pm, 25th April 2006

My Lords, I rise briefly to add my support to these amendments. I know that both Fathers Direct and the Equal Opportunities Commission are concerned that many fathers simply will not be able to afford to take up the additional paternity leave entitlement if it is paid at only £109 a week. We have to decide whether we really mean it when we say that fathers are important. If we do think so, the Government ought seriously to consider stumping up the money for an extra two weeks.

The other consideration is flexibility. I strongly agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, that it is absurd for legislation to prevent an employer and employee agreeing on their arrangements for paternity leave. I do not think that I need say any more.