The Government intends to change maternity and paternity arrangements to help families with their childcare commitments.
For many years, fathers have been entitled to up to two weeks of statutory paternity leave paid at a flat rate on the birth or adoption of their child, providing they meet certain qualifying criteria. And those whose children were born on or after April 2011 have been entitled to additional paternity leave if the mother didn’t take all of her maternity leave. However it appears that take up of the additional leave has been very low.
The current proposal is to introduce the idea of shared parental leave, some of which can be taken by both parents at the same time. The mother would retain the right to an 18 week period of maternity leave following the child’s birth and the father would also retain the entitlement of the two weeks’ paternity leave around the time of the birth with the corresponding maternity / paternity pay. However after that the remaining 34 weeks would be seen as parental leave which would be shared out between the two parents in a variety of ways which would not necessarily require it to be taken in a continuous block, but would still need agreement from the respective employers. It is important to note that these are still proposals and the government has not yet published the responses to the consultation, so whether they are still on target to introduce any new arrangements in April 2015 as originally intended remains to be seen.
Posted on 19 Nov 2016