'Shared parental leave is good news' says Farron
South Lakes MP Tim Farron has today welcomed moves by the government to reform the way parents can share maternity leave.
The changes are part of the Children and Families Bill, published last week. The government will move away from the current inflexible arrangements and create a new, more equal system which allows both parents to keep a strong link to their workplace.
- It will also see the extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees. Under the new proposed system:
- Employed mothers will still be entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave as a day one right
- Mothers can choose to end their maternity leave after the initial two week recovery period; working parents can then decide how they want to share the remaining leave
- Fathers will gain a new right to take unpaid leave to attend two antenatal appointments
- There will be new statutory payment for parents on shared parental leave with the same qualifying requirements that currently apply to statutory maternity and paternity pay
- Those who have adopted a child will be entitled to the same pay and leave as birth parents.
The government also wants to remove the cultural expectation that flexible working only has benefits for parents and carers, allowing individuals to manage their work alongside other commitments. This will improve the UK labour market by providing more diverse working patterns. The new system will:
- Extend the right to request flexible working to all employees
- Remove the current statutory procedure for considering requests. Instead employers will have a duty to consider all requests in a reasonable manner.
Tim said: "I think this these changes are long overdue. As a Dad I understand that looking after a newborn is hard work and it's very welcome that the laws are being revised. The new system is good for business as it will create a more motivated and flexible workforce. Employers will be able to attract and retain women and prevent them from dropping out of the world of work once they start a family. Flexible working will also help widen the pool of talent in the labour market, helping to drive growth."