Proposals tabled for fathers to share maternity leave


The Government has outlined policy proposals which will give parents more choice and flexibility in how they use maternity and paternity leave. Under the new proposals new fathers can take advantage of additional paternity leave and pay during the second six months of the child’s life, if the mother wishes to return to work with maternity leave outstanding.
Employed fathers are currently entitled to two weeks paid paternity leave and mothers to 52 weeks maternity leave, of which up to 39 weeks are paid. Employed parents are also entitled to a total of 13 weeks unpaid parental leave until the child’s fifth birthday. The changes will not take place until 3 April 2011 In order to give employers time to adjust to the changes.
Business Minister Pat McFadden said:
“The Government has transformed the help available to new parents with increased maternity pay and leave and the introduction of paternity leave. The balance between work and family life has changed for the better in the past decade and these changes will give parents the chance to share their leave and will give families a useful element of flexibility and choice.
The move comes as the Government publishes its response to a consultation on the subject held at the end of 2009. The regulations will mean:
  • Fathers will be entitled to up to six months extra leave, which can be taken once the mother has returned to work;This new provision will be available during the second six months of the child’s life, giving parents the option of dividing a period of paid leave entitlement between them
  • Some of the leave may be paid if taken during the mother’s 39 week maternity pay period. This would be paid at the same rate as Statutory Maternity Pay (currently £123.06);
  • Parents will be required to “self certify” by providing details of their eligibility to their employer. Employers and HMRC will both be able to carry out further checks of entitlement if necessary.
The Government has tabled the regulations for Parliament to consider as soon as possible.  They will need to be debated and approved by each House before they can be implemented. Subject to this, the Government intends that the law be in force by April 2010 and have effect for parents of children due on or after 3 April 2011.
Posted by Asif Yusuf


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