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Paternity leave

The question

New fathers could get extra paid paternity leave on top of the existing fortnight under new government proposals published last week. What do you think?

It sounds like a good idea, but the reality is that the construction industry is male dominated - I doubt there would be a net balance of zero between women not taking their full leave and men opting for paternity leave - this can only leave our industry worse off, and small companies would be particularly vulnerable.

Charis Fowler, 33, principal engineer, Midlands My gut feeling is that having survived for a few thousand years without this leave then I am sure we could last a few thousand more. Perhaps a better option would be to allow fathers paternity Fridays. That way, the family gets that extra bit of father time during the baby's formative months, while the company still gets 80% of a working week.

Robert Pike, 43, project manager, Exeter Given the salaries that most young engineers are earning it is highly likely that our partners will be out-earning us. It would therefore be financially prudent for us to take the time off.

Kenneth Brown, 33, assistant engineer, Linlithgow While there is no doubt that small businesses will find it harder to deal with the potential impact of these proposals, that is no good reason not to implement them.

Should we repeal Health & Safety legislation that is expensive to comply with ?

Greg Riddle, 32, site agent, Linlithgow This would be a great policy if the government (or employers) provides full-pay benefits. Right now though, I cannot see that there will be too many engineers who can afford three months off work on £100/week statutory paternity pay.

Alex Pendleton, 34, consultant, London I suppose someone has to speak up for those who are not contributing to the population explosion. Does the legislation provide extra holidays for them?

Andrew Fraser, 55, municipal engineer, Stirling I find it a sensible idea, as it enables fathers and mothers to share the paternity leave, so that neither of them has to break their career for too long.

Similar legislation has been in place here in Germany for a couple of years, although only a small percentage of fathers take advantage of it, as such a break is still considered by many to have negative effects on career progress. I can only hope this conservative view will change, as the handful of men I know who have taken paternity leave all report it as a positive experience.

Mike Paul, 52, senior engineer, Stuttgart, Germany With the average wage in a consultancy at say £30,000, and employees are expected to earn fees of £80,000 in 12 months. . . it is not difficult to figure out the cost of a three month absence in fee earning potential. With the average consultancy earning a profit after tax of less than 4%, it would not take many employees to take additional parental leave to destabilise a small firm.

Paul McCormick, 39, managing director, Derby

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