From this April, new rules brought in by Liberal Democrats mean that working parents will now be able to split up to 50 weeks of maternity and paternity leave between them however they like. This includes up to 37 weeks of paid leave and is on top of two weeks guaranteed paid leave for the mother.
Lib Dems believe that its important for parents to have the choice and flexibility to decide for themselves how they share caring for a newborn child and leave from work which is why we’ve ended the system where parents were much more restricted in what they could do. Fathers in particular were only allowed two weeks of paternity leave and could only take additional paternity leave if their partner returned to work.
Jo Swinson, the Lib Dem Minister for Business, Women and Equalities, who pushed for the changes writes:
“A couple might opt for father to take the entire 50 weeks of shared parental leave or to take an extra three or four weeks at home just after baby is born. A mother might take the first four months, with father taking over when she goes back to work, or a couple could opt to stay at home together for up to six months. Each family can now work out what will work best for them.
Shared parental leave will help to create a family-friendly culture in the workplace where it is just as normal for fathers and partners to take on childcare responsibilities as mothers. Mothers and adopters will have real choice about when they return to work, fathers will have more time to bond with their children, children will have better outcomes.”