Labour would improve paternity leave rights amid ‘cultural shift’ – Rayner

A Labour government would enhance paternity leave rights and seek a “cultural shift” from employers to better support family life, the party’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has said.

Ahead of Father’s Day, Labour have pledged to make parental leave a day one right for workers who start new jobs.

Under the current rules, workers need to have had 26 weeks of continuous employment in a particular job before they are entitled to paternity leave.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar meet with fathers at Broxburn Family and Community development centre in Livingston
Anas Sarwar said Labour would strengthen workers’ rights (Andy Buchanan/PA)

Ms Rayner discussed her policy with journalists during a visit to West Lothian, after meeting parents at the Broxburn Family and Community Development Centre.

The Liberal Democrats recently unveiled a “dad month” policy – a month of use-it-or-lose-it leave for fathers which would be paid at 90% of earnings.

Asked how Labour’s offer compared to the Lib Dems, Ms Rayner joked: “I thought Ed Davey is having his dad month this month – he seems to be having a great old time.”

Labour’s deputy leader said her plans to improve rights in a “new deal” for working people are fully costed.

She said: “To be honest, speaking to a lot of the employers, they are already doing a lot of the new deal.

“But there are some that don’t recognise the value of their employees and are trying to undercut those businesses that want to do the right thing.

“That why Rachel (Reeves) set out that we’re pro business and pro worker.”

Ms Rayner said Labour’s “family friendly” policy would benefit the economy and allow more people to work flexibly.

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner following the launch of his party’s manifesto at Co-op HQ in Manchester
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner following the launch of the party’s manifesto at Co-op HQ in Manchester (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

She continued: “The challenge for us is having that cultural shift in the UK.

“I’m ready to work with those employers that are already doing that to show those other employers that time’s up on that sort of thing.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar also discussed the policy.

He said: “Labour will make parental leave a day one right, so new dads aren’t forced to choose between spending time with their child and putting food on the table.

“This Fathers’ Day, the best gift on offer is a Labour government that will help parents to balance family and work.

“On July 4 Scotland can make sure we kick out this rotten Tory government, strengthen workers’ rights and deliver the change that Scotland needs.”

A Conservative spokesman said: “We have taken bold action to empower parents in making the choices that are best for them – whether that be by giving parents more flexibility and choice surrounding their paternity leave or rolling out the largest ever expansion of childcare.

“Labour’s only promise to hardworking families is a tax hike of £2,094 and be in no doubt that this would be the tip of the iceberg under a Labour government.”

Labour has denied it has any plans to hike taxes beyond the specific measures listed in its manifesto.