The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development fully supports the new legal right to request flexible working and argues that it should be extended to all workers. The institute urges the government to consider this option when it reviews the legislation three years after its introduction in April this year. But when it comes to maternity and paternity leave, the institute believes that treating parents as a distinct group within the workforce is a short term and unhelpful approach to worklife balance.
Commenting on proposals by the Treasury and Department of Trade and Industry to further extend statutory protection for parents, Mike Emmott, the institute's head of employee relations, said: 'I suspect employers might see any proposal to allow fathers time off to attend antenatal care as "gesture politics".
'From the employers' standpoint, requiring statutory paternity pay to be linked to a single two-week period helps to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy.
It is too soon to consider extending the period of paid paternity leave at this stage. Nor do we see any case for introducing unpaid paternity leave given the existing provision for parental leave.'