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U.K. allows new fathers six month leave, but no extra benefits.

LONDON -- The United Kingdom government announced that fathers will have the right to six months' unpaid paternity leave even if the female spouse also take maternity leave.

In the new plan a father will receive no additional benefits and he would be without pay for all but two weeks of the six month period. This is considered a serious drawback and critics claim that few fathers will take advantage of the new rights.

Currently, fathers are entitled to two weeks' paid paternity leave set at a minimum government support of 106 [pounds sterling] a week.

The Ministers believe the paternity leave recognizes the importance of both parents being present in the crucial first stages of their child's life and regard the move as essential to helping fathers feel more responsible for the rearing of their children.

A new father who takes the full six months off would be able to return to his job. He can take the employer to an industrial tribunal if the firm refuses to accept him.

New Maternity rights will now allow mothers to have nine months paid maternity leave from April 2007, and a year from 2009.
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Title Annotation:INCOME
Publication:Community Action
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 24, 2005
Words:192
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