MP welcomes shared parental leave plans
South Lakes MP and President of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, has welcomed plans announced this morning for shared parental leave.
Working mums and dads today learned how the new system of shared parental leave will work for them and their employers. The proposals for shared parental leave and flexible working are included in the Children and Families Bill 2013 which is currently going through Parliament. The details will be set out in regulations.
Since April 2011, fathers and mothers have been able to share some of the 52 weeks' existing leave, with the father able to take up to six months beginning after the baby is 20 weeks old.
However, this can only be taken as a single block - as can the leave the mother takes.
Under the proposed new arrangement, first trialled last year, the existing 52 weeks of maternity leave, other than the first fortnight for a new mother's recovery, will be able to be shared between the parents.
In an effort to allay fears of the impact on smaller firms, bosses will have to agree any proposed pattern of time off and will retain the right to insist it be confined to a continuous block, with no more than two subsequent changes. The plan has today been backed by the CBI.
Tim said: "I think 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."
Business Minister Jo Swinson MP added: "Thanks to extensive discussions with business and family groups we have found a workable approach to shared parental leave. Getting the detail right is crucial if shared parental leave is to drive a real cultural shift and help working dads play a greater role in their child's early months."
"Employers too can gain from a system which allows them to keep talented women in the workforce and have more motivated and productive staff.
"The new leave system will allow eligible working families to have more choice about how they balance their work and caring commitments. Parents can choose to be at home together or to work at different times and share the care of their child."