Daddy Day Care, Mummy Maternity Leave or Both?

In 2015 the Government plans to introduce a new system for flexible parental leave following the birth of a child. The new system will allow parents to choose how they share the care of their child in the first year after birth. Employed mothers are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave, and it is up to the working parents to decide how they share the leave. However, the initial two weeks following the birth have to be taken by the mother, to ensure she receives a recovery period.

Parents have the opportunity to take leave in turns or take it together, providing that no more than 52 weeks of combined leave are taken. Of the reform, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said “Reform is long overdue and the changes we are making will shatter the perception that women have to be the primary care-givers”. The reform will be welcomed by many as the number of “stay-at-home dads” rises as more women are becoming the main bread winner.

Nick Clegg then went on to say “This is good news not only for parents and parents-to-be, but employers too who will benefit from a much more flexible and motivated workforce.” The new system will allow both parents to keep a strong link with their workplace, preventing women from being held back and allowing employers to attract and retain women in their organisation. The increased flexibility allows employers to take advantage of the entire talent pool, which in turn will enable our economy to diversify and grow.

The Government is creating a new statutory payment for parents on flexible parenting leave and giving Father’s the right to take unpaid leave to attend two antenatal appointments. There are also new proposals to extend the right to request flexible working to all employees, allowing grandparents who work to help care for their grandchildren.

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