The Scottish Parliament will today (Thursday) discuss the advantages of paternity leave in a debate led by Fulton MacGregor MSP.

Mr MacGregor will challenge the presumption that women are primarily responsible for raising children, and argue that paternity leave leads to a range of positive outcomes, including tackling wider societal inequality and a reduction in incidences of post-natal depression.

Mr MacGregor’s speech will call for more employers in Scotland to adopt practices which allow for enhanced paternity leave or pay beyond the two week statutory period.

All Scottish Government employees are entitled to four weeks’ paternity leave, which the Coatbridge and Chryston MSP wants other employers to match.

Speaking in the debate, Mr MacGregor will say;

“Just now in the UK and Scotland fathers get up to 2 weeks that the dad can take from the birth of the child. Some employers, including the Scottish Government, offer a bit more; up to 4 weeks but the general standard is 2 weeks.

“This lack of support and recognition for fathers – which is historical – only reflects and reinforces cultural assumptions about traditional gender roles where the father is the breadwinner and the mother is the primary carer.

“As parliamentarians, we have a duty to challenge that head on. We are way behind many other countries in doing so. For example Iceland, Slovenia, Sweden, Finland and Norway all offer between 10 and 12 weeks of paternity leave.

“We can call on the UK Government, local authorities, health boards, other public bodies and private companies to follow the Scottish Government and introduce 4 weeks paternity leave as a minimum. It’s another small step on the way to the Scotland we want to become.”

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