Employment relations minister Jo Swinson says the government wants to shatter the perception it is mainly a woman’s role to stay at home and look after children, and also flexible working only has benefits for parents and carers.
Under the proposals in the Children and Families Bill 2013 mums and dads will be able to share their entitlements for parental leave and flexible working.
Jo Swinson said: “Current workplace arrangements for maternity leave are old-fashioned and rigid. Our measures for shared parental leave and flexible working give us a great opportunity to make our workforce even more flexible, help working families and boost economic growth.
“Crucially, these proposals will drive a real cultural shift and help working dads play a greater role in their child’s early months. We want to shatter the perception that it is mainly a woman’s role to stay at home and look after the child, and also that flexible working only has benefits for parents and carers.
“Employers too can gain from a system which allows them keep talented women in the workforce and have more motivated and productive staff.
“This consultation will ensure we get the detail right for business and families on how these new proposals will work. The first thought we always had when designing this system was that it did not add significant burdens to business and was as simple as possible for everyone to use. This consultation is about getting the detail right so we can achieve these goals.”
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “It’s high time that the existing system of maternity leave is overhauled so that it’s easier for women to get back to work earlier if they choose.
“A new system of shared parental leave is not only good news for parents and parents-to-be, but for employers who will benefit from having a workforce that is more flexible and motivated.”
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