Boris Johnson to take paternity leave ‘later in the year’

Carrie Symonds, Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson and partner Carrie Symonds

Boris Johnson is expected to take a short period of paternity leave later this year, a Downing Street spokesman has said.

Following the birth of the British Prime Minister’s son, questions were raised about whether he would take any paternity leave amid the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

Mr Johnson’s fiancee Carrie Symonds gave birth in a London hospital on Wednesday morning, and a spokeswoman for the couple said both mother and baby were doing well.

It is understood Mr Johnson was present throughout the delivery, with the news that he would be absent from Prime Minister’s Questions coming shortly before the birth was announced.

A Downing Street spokesman confirmed Mr Johnson is expected to take paternity leave in the future.

The spokesman told a Westminster briefing: “I do expect the Prime Minister to take a short period of paternity leave later in the year, rather than now.”

The spokesman confirmed the family will live in Downing Street but could not confirm weight, timing, nature or location of the birth.

New fathers are entitled to up to two weeks of statutory paternity leave.

However, while this leave cannot start before the child’s arrival, it must end within 56 days, or eight weeks, of the birth.

This statutory leave is paid at £151.20 (€173.22) per week, or 90% of average weekly earnings, depending on which is lower.

Expectant fathers must give at least 15 weeks’ notice to their employer.

Some couples are entitled to take 50 weeks of shared parental leave in the first year after a birth or adoption, although the eligibility criteria are narrower than for the statutory benefit.

Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds’s son is the third baby born to a serving prime minister in recent history.

Former prime ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron took paternity leave after the births of their children while in office.

Mr Johnson previously indicated that it was likely he would take paternity leave.
When asked in early March whether he intended to take time off, Mr Johnson said: “The answer is almost certainly, yes.”

But he later added: “I can’t remember what the question was.”

Since then, the coronavirus outbreak has progressed significantly.

The number of people who have died in hospital with Covid-19 has reached over 20,000, with the number of daily deaths reaching their highest so far in early April.

The nationwide lockdown imposed on March 23 is set to be reviewed early next month.

The Prime Minister only returned to Downing Street on Monday, after contracting the virus.

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