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Changes to law regarding time off for antenatal classes

By Lauren Gasser, 04 September 2014

This week it was announced that as of October 1 2014, those in a ‘qualifying relationship’ with a pregnant woman or her child will be allowed paid leave from work to attend antenatal appointments. Until now, the father of an unborn baby had no legal right to receive time off work to accompany the mother to any classes, meetings or activities, and was forced to take this time as holiday, or miss appointments altogether.

This is great news for fathers and same-sex partners across the country who have struggled to be involved in the pregnancy and birthing process, and a step towards greater equality within family policy and social care.

Research suggests that the involvement of Dads in the antenatal process has a significant impact on how their future relationships with their children. Involvement at the antenatal stage can help shape a father’s expectations about parenthood, and what kind of role he will have as a father. (Cabrera, Fagan, & Farrie, 2008)

The term ‘qualifying relationships’ has not been clarified at this stage, and it will be interesting to discover exactly what this incorporates. The law surrounding family policy and legal rights for same-sex parents is similarly unclear, and this latest development from the Children and Families Act may go some way towards rectifying that.

To read more, and to access the full briefing document, click here.



Cabrera, N. J., Fagan, J., & Farrie, D. (2008). Explaining the Long Reach of Fathers’ Prenatal Involvement on Later Paternal Engagement. Journal of Marriage and Family, 70(5), 1094–1107.


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