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Giving parents greater flexibility in how they share paternity leave

December 4, 2014 11:22 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Parents will have greater flexibility in how they share the care of their child in the first year after birth thanks to changes delivered by Liberal Democrats in government.

The new rules, which apply to couples with babies due or children matched or placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015, will allow parents to choose whether they want to share the mother's maternity leave.


There are expected to be around 285,000 working couples eligible to share paternity leave from next April.

The Shared Parental Leave scheme gives parents greater freedom in how they share the care of their child in the first year after birth. It also enables parents to keep a strong link to the workplace and encourage fathers to play a greater role in the early stages of their child's life.

Liberal Democrat Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson said:

"The new Shared Parental Leave rules will give real choice to parents. We all know that every family has its own unique set of circumstances, and the Shared Parental Leave reflects that reality.

"Up until now, families have had very limited options when it comes to juggling the demands of work with the arrival of a new baby. The old maternity leave system reinforced the archaic assumptions that the bulk of childcare responsibilities should be done by mums, and failed to recognise the vitally important role that dads and partners have to play.

"Mothers and adopters will be able to choose when they return to work and fathers and partners will be able to spend more time bonding with their children during the precious early stages of their development."