Margot Parker MEP has said legislation is not the key which would unlock the gender pay gap when it came to paid parental leave for fathers.
"Figures show that only 3,000 couples took shared parental leave in the first three months of 2016, which equates to two per cent of families in which the mother took maternity leave during that same period.
"Statutory entitlement to three months of non-transferable paid parental leave for fathers or second parents, at the same rate as maternity pay is a sticking-plaster solution, an easy diversion from the structural and institutional causes of the gender-pay gap by blaming the gap solely on motherhood.
"Rather than the Government funding paternal pay leave, surely a better solution would be to divert those funds into skills training for mother seeking to return to work or indeed enter it for the first time – this seems to favour a small percentage of professional career women rather than look at effecting wider positive change for women in general.
"Legislation of this type has already led to younger women in the workforce being side-stepped by employers – now younger men starting families will have the same problem."