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Gov't launches ‘mix and match’ reforms for parents to share maternity leave

By Gurjit Degun , 08-Feb-2013

The Government has introduced ‘mix and match’ reforms for parents to share maternity leave.

It is part of the Children and Families Bill and the Government said it will move away from “the current old-fashioned and inflexible arrangements and create a new, more equal system which allows both parents to keep a strong link to their workplace”.

The Shared Parental Leave scheme allows:

  • 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.

Business minister Jo Swinson said: “Current workplace arrangements are old-fashioned and rigid.

“Employers will soon get used to more men taking time off after their child is born and more mothers returning to work earlier, shattering the perception that it is mainly a woman’s role to stay at home and look after the child.

“These measures will really help our aim of ensuring more businesses are making best use of women’s talents throughout the organisation, from the boardroom to the shop floor.

“The new system is good for business as it will create a more motivated and flexible, talented 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.”

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