CONTRACTORS SAID this week that they wanted three months' notice from fathers planning to take up new paternity leave entitlements proposed by the government.
They expressed concern at the long term impact of the legislation if increasing numbers of fathers took up their rights.
The proposals are contained in the new Work & Families bill published last week. It will allow fathers to take up to six months paid paternity leave.
Construction Confederation industrial relations director Goey Lean said: 'Although we support the bill we must stress the importance of a notice period. When a woman takes maternity leave the employer gets nearly nine months warning. The industry couldn't cope with men suddenly disappearing for six months.' Civil engineering is heavily male-dominated and there are fears that an increase in paternity leave could leave smaller contractors without skilled labour, he said.
'It is very diffi cult to predict the impact this could have, ' added Lean.
'At the moment paternity leave has not proved very popular among employees but social attitudes are changing and we could see more men staying home to look after the kids because they are the secondary earners.' INFOPLUS For more on paternity rights go to www. nceplus. co. uk