Maternity and paternity leave: Prince William and Kate officially on leave after their son's birth
The new heir to the throne is finally here! And it’s a BOY! The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to what Time magazine has called one of ‘the most anticipated babies of all time’. Both Prince William and his wife are now on paternity and maternity leave respectively so that they can enjoy their new baby.
In the privacy of the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London, (with hundreds of photographers waiting anxiously outside) the Duchess gave birth to a son who has taken Prince Harry’s place as third in line to the throne.
Just like his father Prince Charles was with Diana, Prince William was by his wife’s side during the birth. In fact, it was on the steps of the same hospital 31 years ago (June 1982) that Prince William was introduced to the world, wrapped in his father’s arms. But this is about as far as the history of royal births in the Lindo Wing goes, because prior to Prince William being born, all royal births happened at home (well, in a palace).
It’s fair to say that a revolution in royal parenting has been taking place behind the doors of Kensington Palace. From the change in succession laws to their stance on raising their children, the young royals are taking a very 21st century approach. According to a royal source, the couple are adamant that they’ll be hands-on, modern parents, with marital teamwork and female equality paramount in their relationship. They want to combine their work schedules with parenting responsibilities and are both keen to take on the roles of nappy changing and night feeding. This is in contrast to the rigid style of parenting you traditionally see from the royals.
Keeping up with the times, Prince William’s vow to be a modern father includes taking leave from his role as a rescue pilot with the RAF. It’s already known that Prince William will be taking two weeks paternity leave (as allowed by the Ministry of Defence) to be with Kate and their son, but the length of the Duchess’s maternity leave has not yet been disclosed. Kate officially began her maternity leave on June 13 after christening Princess Cruises’ newest ship, the Royal Princess. According to government legislation, expectant mums can begin maternity leave 11 weeks before the expected week of birth. From then, if you qualify for Statutory Maternity Leave, you’re allowed 52 weeks of leave in total. While it’s not required that you take all of the 52 weeks off, you must take two weeks off immediately after your baby is born. The same goes for the Duchess.
Early into her pregnancy, the palace announced that it would be very unlikely for her to take any foreign trips for the remainder of the year. In terms of flexible employment, the palace appears to be a very flexible employer – sadly, not all employers are as accommodating. But, if Kate takes after Princess Diana, she could be taking her son on royal engagements from the time he’s eight months old. Just like every mother, it’s her choice how long she wants to take off work, how involved she wants to be as a parent, and how she wants to balance her work and home life.
These days, hands-on parenting is expected. When the Queen gave birth, Prince Phillip was playing squash, and while Prince Charles was at the birth of his children, it’s well known that he went to play polo a few hours after his son William was born.
While your stance on parenting may differ from the royals, it’s good to know that maternity and paternity leave legislation gives everybody the right to take leave after the birth of a child. But if you are having difficulty negotiating leave with your employer, then you may need to seek legal advice.
Now the royal baby has been born, we hope that Kate and William enjoy this precious time with their new baby and make the very most out of their maternity and paternity leave. They don’t stay little for long!