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Friday, November 29, 2013

UKIP miss the zeitgeist again

As Nick Clegg announces a new deal for the expectant fathers, UKIP has demonstrated once more how out-of-step it is with modern society.

The Times reports that men will be given the chance to take up to 50 weeks of paternity leave, under radical changes to mark the end of “Edwardian restrictions” on the rights of new parents.

They say that from April 2015, working couples will be able to split the entitlement to time off work after the birth of their child, in a move designed to allow the sharing of childcare duties. Businesses will have to offer statutory pay to male employees for the first time and keep open their positions for the first 26 weeks they are away, equalising the rules that exist now.

They add that once the mother’s two-week recovery period after birth is complete, she and her partner can split their leave equally. Either one will be entitled to 90 per cent of their usual pay until six weeks after the birth, followed by a 33-week period of statutory pay, which at present is £136. 78 a week. The remainder of the year is unpaid. Under the rules, eight weeks’ notice will be needed for shared paternity leave:

Nick Clegg, who has made the issue a keystone of the Liberal Democrats, will say: “We need to challenge the old-fashioned assumption that women will always be the parent that stays at home — many fathers want that option too. That is why from April 2015 we are introducing shared parental leave to allow couples to make that decision jointly ensuring all career options remain open to women after pregnancy.”

Meanwhile, over in the Guardian a senior UK Independence party politician is quoted as saying that women with babies do not have the ambition to go right to the top, sparking yet another storm about sexism following the sacking of the party's controversial MEP Godfrey Bloom.

Stuart Agnew, a Ukip MEP, made the remarks in a debate about gender quotas in Brussels last week as he tried to explain the lack of women in senior roles.

Speaking in the European parliament, Agnew said: "If you look at the people who get degrees, more women get them and they are getting the jobs in the workplace, but for various reasons they don't have the ambition to go right to the top because something gets in the way. It's called a baby.

"I've never had a baby, but I understand if you do have a baby it can change your life – it changes your ambitions. So, the route is there. Those females who really want to get to the top do so."

Oh dear!
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