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Prince William to get 2 weeks of paternity leave

William is the first senior royal to receive statutory paternity leave.

By Associated_Press Jul 19, 2013 3:34PM

LONDON (AP) — He may be royal, but when it comes to paternity leave, Prince William is in the same boat as everyone else. Like thousands of other new fathers in Britain, he will get two weeks off when his child is born.

File photo Britain's Prince William stands next to his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge as she leaves the King Edward VII hospital in central London. He may be royal, but when it comes to paternity leave Prince William is in the same boat as everyone else. Like thousands of other new fathers in Britain, he will get two weeks off when his child is born. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)Along with British society, the royal family has been gradually modernizing its attitudes toward birth and parenting. William's father, Prince Charles, was present at the birth of his two sons, who were born in a hospital rather than a palace — both breaks from royal tradition. But William is the first senior royal to receive statutory paternity leave, which was introduced in Britain in 2003.

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Some family campaigners say William, a Royal Air Force search-and-rescue helicopter pilot, is setting a good example in a country where until recently new fathers have taken little time off.

But others say two weeks is not enough, and argue that social and economic pressures still discourage fathers from spending time looking after their newborns.

"There is an element that employers — and men themselves — are thinking of them as the ones who earn the money and stick in that role when children come along," said Jeremy Davies of the Fatherhood Institute think tank. "It can be quite difficult to set yourself apart from that."

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Under British law, William is entitled to two weeks off at a flat pay rate of just under 137 pounds ($206) a week. He's lucky — the military is among employers that pay more, and he will receive his full salary for the fortnight.

The government says two-thirds of new fathers take some paternity leave, but less than half take the full two weeks. Some are ineligible because they are self-employed or haven't been at a job for at least six months. Others just can't afford it.

Mothers, who receive the bulk of parental leave, can take up to a year off, though only 39 weeks of it is paid, and not at full salary.

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The rules are changing. Under recent changes, new fathers can take up to six months leave by using up some of the year of a partner who has returned to work.

But few do. Elizabeth Gardiner of campaign group Working Families said that in the first year the flexible leave was offered, only 1,650 men in Britain took it.

She said the solution is to set aside some time off for fathers only — a practice in Scandinavia known as "daddy months."

"If you really want fathers to take up leave, you have to earmark it for them and you have to pay it properly," she said.

That's what they do in Sweden, where new parents can take 16 months' paid leave, divided between the parents as they like. Two months can only be taken by the mother and two months by the father — if not, the time cannot be transferred to the partner and is forfeited.

As an incentive, it works. In 2000, Swedish men took out only 12.4 percent of parental leave; by 2010 their share had nearly doubled to 23.1 percent, according to government statistics.

At the other end of the scale is the United States, where there is no government-subsidized nationwide paid paternity leave, though some companies and a few states offer it. Many companies and the public sector offer unpaid leave to new fathers.

Britain is moving to offer fathers more time. Under legislation currently before Parliament, from 2015 parents will be able to split the 50 weeks of paid leave as they like.

Changing attitudes may be harder than changing the law. A recent study by the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto found that men who take on caregiving duties at home receive more abuse at work than men who stick to conventional gender roles.

"It was a pretty powerful result," said Jennifer Berdahl, professor of organizational behavior at the Rotman School. "Men who did relatively more caregiving at home experienced a lot more 'not man enough' harassment and teasing that threatens their status in the workplace."

Prime Minister David Cameron took two weeks' leave when his daughter Florence was born in 2010, and it drew comment — some approving, some critical of a national leader stepping back for 14 days to look after a baby.

Jeremy Davies of the Fatherhood Institute said William was setting a good example — up to a point.

"What would be fantastic would be to see Prince William to take some time where he was the primary carer at some time during the first year," Davies said. "That's the stuff that leads to a really strong relationship with the child."

More from Family Room:
Royal baby could arrive as late as next week
7 tips Prince Harry needs before becoming an uncle
6 reasons Prince William will be a great dad

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File photo: Britain's Prince William stands next to his wife, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, as she leaves the King Edward VII hospital in central London. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

67Comments
Jul 20, 2013 3:21AM
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Boy, I see the PR machine is in full force here with the sudden change in support arrows.  What is this, the Daily Mail?  All Prince William does is whatever he wants and she ain't nicknamed Lazy Waity for nothin'.
Jul 19, 2013 8:39PM
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He's taking two weeks off from being a helicopter pilot in the Royal Air Force.
Jul 19, 2013 8:38PM
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Time off from what???  Playing polo and killing defenseless animals?  It sure ain't his charity work nor 'military' involvement.  I guess more of his mates are going to have to cover his helicopter rescue butt some more.
Jul 19, 2013 8:34PM
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They are 2 people i really like, they married before they had any children.  They have class and i think Wills has the disposition of his mother and seems to be a very devoted and loyal person.  He will make a great King, she is so beautiful and classy she will make a great queen.  As opposed to our so called Queen, that dresses and looks so tacky, and is so UnAmerican.  At least the English have something, to be proud of , at least we have our Military to Be Proud of.  America is not the country it used to be always forceful and brave, now a bunch of weinees run it and are ruining the best country in the world.   Congrats can hardly wait til the baby is born.  I cannot believe anyone compared Kim K to Kate what a joke.
Jul 19, 2013 7:43PM
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Leave from what? Being a ****ing socialite? Gag me.
Jul 19, 2013 7:40PM
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how sad to think they don't work, william and kate seem to be nice people and live the life most people think they want, but it still has responsibility, the glamour is getting to dress up and getting to travel the world sound like fun, but when you are always under the public eye its is not always so fun, you cant do anything without someone watching, and knowing the most intimate  of your life. I don't think that sound like fun. They were born into a life most of us don't understand what is expected of you.Bad behavior is not excepted. I for one wish them the best and hope that they have a long and happy life. We lost william mother due to the press following her every move, I hope we give William and Kate more respect.

Jul 19, 2013 7:39PM
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READ ALL About IT! PRINCE TAKES VACATION FRAM DOING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!  He'll probably get another Military Decoration to go with the two he was already given for "LACK OF ACTION".
Jul 19, 2013 7:03PM
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what job is he taking 2 weeks off from?

 

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