Alterations to parental leave announced recently by the government represent progress in terms of gender equality, it has been suggested.
Under the terms of the plans, families will have greater flexibility in terms of how they use their maternity and paternity leave.
As of April 2011, workers will have the option of transferring up to six months leave to the father should they wish to. This can be taken by the father once the mother has returned to work.
Responding to the development, Ruth Spellman, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute, said: "The introduction of increased paternity leave is a positive step further towards equality in the workplace."
She added that the changes may also result in an improvement in terms of employee motivation, engagement, productivity and general performance.
A survey conducted recently by Workingmums.com found that almost all working mothers rated flexible working as "very important" to them in a job.