Flexible parental leave – what does it mean for you and your family?

Kim Hookem-Smith
Yahoo Lifestyle
13 November 2012

What changes will the proposals bring in?

Currently maternity law states that women can take up to a year off when they have a baby. Called Statutory Maternity Leave, it entitles all women to the 52 weeks, regardless of how long they have been working for their employer.

[Related: Becoming a dad is bad for your body!]

Since April 2011, dads have been able to take up to six months of that time off, when their partner goes back to work. This has to be taken in a single block, after their baby has reached 20 weeks.

The new proposal will allow mums and dads to share parental leave more flexibly. Dads will be able to take time off at any point after the compulsory two week period that mums take following birth. They will also be able to take time off in chunks as well as choosing to alternate or coordinate leave with their partner.
Flexible working

[POLL: Should dads sleep over on maternity wards?]

The changes also offer more rights to workers to ask for flexible hours, regardless of whether they are parents. Adoptive parents also gain the same rights as their biological counterparts and expectant fathers will be able to claim unpaid leave in order to attend antenatal appointments.

Are there any limits?

The total amount of time taken off between parents can only add up to one year, with only nine months of that at guaranteed pay. Automatic paternity leave will remain at two weeks, but flexible leave can be activated by the mum at any time after this.

[Related: Calpol linked to asthma]

When does the new system start?

The law is due to come into effect in 2015, though an exact date is yet to be set. To reduce the impact on businesses in the difficult economy, a planned review of paternity leave has been postponed until 2018.

Is there criticism?

Some businesses have complained that flexible working isn’t compatible with a weak economy and difficult trading conditions. But the Government and the Trade Union Congress have insisted that the economy will benefit from giving workers and particularly parents a better work/life balance.

Would you share your maternity leave?

What to read next

Drive part-time, full-time, or anytime with Uber!

As an Uber independent contractor you can get paid to drive your own car! We connect you with riders, and you work when you want to.

Must-Read Homebuying Guidelines For Veterans

Active or veteran, your service benefits can really make a difference when buying or refinancing a home! Learn these 5 home buying tricks.

Heartburn During Pregnancy

Dealing With Pregnancy is Hard Enough. Getting Heartburn While Pregnant is a Pain. Learn What Causes Heartburn During Pregnancy.

20 Embarrassing Cheerleader Photos

See the most hilarious cheerleader fails.

Liberty Mutual Insurance

Save up to 10% when you combine your auto and home insurance. Get a free quote and start saving today.

Do NOT pay your insurance until you try this.

If you drive less than 55 miles/day or have no DUI's you can get auto insurance for as low as $29/Month! See if you qualify.