Clegg to announce system of flexible parental leave
The coalition government has been looking into ways that parents can divide maternity leave, and from 2015, two weeks after giving birth, mothers will be able to return to work.
The new plans mean that parents will be officially permitted to take time off together or take leave in turns.
This gives new parents much more flexibility in the early days, supporting and caring for their newborn child.
Currently, new parents are allowed 52 weeks leave between them where the father can take off 20 weeks from work when the baby is 20 weeks old, which is not separable and must be taken all at once.
On Tuesday Deputy PM Nick Clegg said: “So many couples feel like they are facing an impossible mathematical equation. And it is an equation where the answer is almost rigged. Because whichever way you look at it, the solution ends up with the mother doing more of the caring and the father doing more of the earning.”
Labour is for the flexible leave system and warns that women should not be pressurised to return to the workplace before they are ready.
Unions are supporting changes that make lives easier for new families. The general secretary of the TUC Brendan Barber said: “Allowing all staff to ask to work flexibly is common sense to good employers.”
The shadow Women’s Minister Yvette Cooper said: “Nick Clegg and David Cameron need to wake up to the real financial pressures most working families face, and stop making it harder, rather than easier, for families to manage.”
Some smaller businesses seem apprehensive and are concerned about the effect this could have on their business during a time of economic uncertainty.