14 November 2012
Govt unveils parental leave reforms
Extensive reforms to Britain's parental leave laws are set to be implemented in the coming years, it has emerged.
Yesterday (November 13th), the government announced it is to make widespread changes to the current employment law regarding maternity and paternity leave to make it more suitable for the modern day.
The Conservative-Liberal Democrat alliance hopes to make the system more flexible and equal in terms of gender rights by enabling parents to have more choice and selection over how their time off is taken.
For instance, under the proposals, new mothers will be permitted to go back to their job two weeks after giving birth before then being allowed to share the rest of their allotted leave with their partner.
At present, women are allowed to take a maximum of 52 weeks off after having a child, whereas men are restricted to two weeks statutory leave - rules the coalition believes to be outdated in the modern-day business environment.
Therefore, the new guidelines will permit partners to decide among themselves how best to use their entitlement of parental leave, as opposed to this being largely decided by their gender.
Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg feels these changes will provide professionals with "maximum flexibility" with regard to choosing how and when they take time off in the aftermath of becoming parents.
For now, statutory parental leave will remain at two weeks as Mr Clegg indicated changing this would be unwise at present due to the country's ongoing financial strife, but this part of the law will be reviewed in 2018.
"These are major reforms and - at a time of continuing economic difficulty - it is sensible to do them in a number of steps rather than one giant leap. More and more men are taking on childcare duties - or want to - and flexible leave builds on that," he noted.
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Posted by Chris Stevenson