By Jenny Chanfreau, Sally Gowland, Zoe Lancaster, Eloise Poole, Sarah Tipping and Mari Toomse
This report presents the results of the Maternity and Paternity Rights Surveys conducted in 2009 and 2010 which included face-to-face interviews with 2,031 mothers and telephone interviews with 1,253 fathers of children born in 2008. The previous maternity rights report (La Valle, I., Clery, E. and Huerta, M.C. (2008). DWP Research Report No. 496) is based on interviews with mothers of children born in 2006.
The Work and Families Act 2006 and associated regulations introduced a number of changes to mothers’ maternity leave and pay entitlements which took effect from 1 April 2007:
- the Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) period increased from 26 to 39 weeks
- the Maternity Allowance (MA) period increased from 26 to 39 weeks
- the eligibility requirements for Additional Maternity Leave (AML) were removed, which enabled all employed mothers to take up to one year’s Statutory Maternity Leave
- the introduction of Keeping In Touch days enabled women to agree with their employers that they would work for up to ten days during their maternity leave.
The Act did not make changes to fathers’ entitlements. At the time covered in this report (2008), fathers could take two weeks of Statutory Paternity Leave after their baby was born. During the leave, most were entitled to flat rate Statutory Paternity Pay.
The report examines the impact of the Act on mothers’ engagement and experience in the labour market prior to, and following, the birth through comparisons with the previous survey.
The report includes findings on maternity and paternity leave and pay, mothers who returned to work and those who did not and the availability of family-friendly working arrangements for mothers and fathers.
The survey was undertaken by the National Centre for Social Research and was jointly commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.