What to Read Next

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?

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

Kid sleep troubles email series for moms

We get it. We’ve been there. Sign up for our email track to learn how to handle kids who won’t go to sleep or won’t stay in bed.

Powerful Tactical Flashlight Flying Off Shelves!

This new tactical flashlight was just released to the public and is flying off shelves in the United States. Limited supplies left, act quick!

Get a second chance to enroll in Medicare

Didn't enroll in Medicare when you were first eligible? Do it now during the General Enrollment Period.

Heartburn During Pregnancy

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

What Are The Pros & Cons Of A Reverse Mortgage?

More Americans are accessing their home equity to support their retirement years. Speak with a professional and see what you may qualify for today.

Why Women Love This New Shopping Site

This site features names like Coach, SmashBox, and Kate Spade - and unlike Amazon or Gilt it's fast, fun and really exciting.

Military Mortgage Rates In 2016

Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military - Takes 1 Min!

Starwood Credit Card

Earn 25,000 Bonus Starpoints®! Use toward Award Nights or Flights.

Insane Navy Seal Flashlight, should it be banned?

The Military has recently released technology that is now available to the public. Get yours before they run out - Limited Supply!

Why You Should Pay Attention to Free Sample Sites

Sign up now for freebies so good you will feel guilty not paying for them! No credit card or purchase necessary.

Update Your Look: Bell Sleeves

What Happens When a Harvard Engineer Gets Robbed?

He designs a smarter home security system—without contracts, installation fees or sneaky salesmen. Discover a smarter way to protect your home today.

10 Cards for People Who Have Great Credit

What card offers up to 5% cash back? And which one offers 24/7 concierge service? See the best credit cards of 2016. Apply online, quickly & easily.

Stop Paying Too Much For Your Prescriptions.

Drug prices vary wildly between pharmacies. GoodRx finds the lowest prices and discounts. Compare prices, print free coupons & save up to 80%.