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Christian charity backs call for more paternity leave

by Tola Mbakwe

The party leader said fathers would get an extra month of paid parental leave if the Liberal Democrats gain power.

The part said the move was aimed at encouraging greater sharing of parental responsibilities.

Katharine Hill, UK Director at Care for the Family told Premier a father's involvement in the early stages of life is important.

She said: "I think anything that can help parents in those early after a little one is born to be to be around for their children is good.

"It's obviously go to be balanced with needs of employers, but I think to encourage dads particularly to take interest in those early days is a really good thing".

Former minister Jo Swinson said the introduction of Shared Parental Leave in 2015 was a big progression toward more equal parenting, but more needs to be done.

She said: "Parents across the UK have already benefitted from greater flexibility and freedom in how they share the care for their new baby.

"But more needs to be done in order to encourage men to take leave when they become a dad, to bond with their child during the early weeks and months of their life.

Just one in 100 men asked for parental leave in the year after Shared Parental Leave policy was introduced.

Hill said a cultural shift needs to happen to change the perception of parental leave.

She told Premier: "Very few dads do take paternity leave at the moment. So I think we need to change our thinking about that and to encourage dads to be involved and to be hands on.

"Sometimes that means encouraging mums as well to allow dads to be involved. So if they put the nappy on backwards it absolutely doesn't matter.

"Those early days are so crucial, and just to be there for each other, to guard their couple relationship as well as their bonding with each other.

"Anything we can do in policy terms and in society's thinking about that I think is to be encouraged."

Lim Dems said funding of the measure would be outlined in its manifesto.

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