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Parental Leave

Volume 504: debated on Monday 18 January 2010

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many people took (a) paternity and (b) maternity leave in the latest period for which figures are available. (310467)

The most recent estimates of take-up of maternity leave are based on published findings from the DWP survey of “Maternity Rights and Mother’s Employment Decisions” (published by DWP in 2008). The survey is based on face-to-face interviews with a random sample of 2,000 mothers who had a baby between February and May 2006. Of mothers in paid work, all (100 per cent.) took at least some of their entitlement to maternity leave.

Mothers interviewed for the 2007 DWP survey reported that the overwhelming majority of fathers (91 per cent.) took some time off when the baby was born. No distinction was made between whether this time-off was taken as paternity leave, annual leave or any other paid or unpaid arrangement with employers The Department’s most up-to-date estimates of fathers taking paternity leave are from the “Maternity and Paternity Rights and Benefits in Britain: Survey of Parents”, conducted in 2005. 93 per cent. of fathers interviewed took some time off around the time of the birth. Of the 93 per cent. who took some time off, 79 per cent. took paternity leave. The 2005 survey is based on a random sample of mothers who had a baby in December 2003 and their partners.