For the first time, couples will be able to share parental leave to care for a newborn, following a change in law that came into effect on December 1st 2014
The new rules mean that couples with babies due after 5 April 2015 will be able to share leave and also take time off together to look after their new arrival.
After an initial two weeks, up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay can be shared.
READ: COULD SHARED PARENTAL LEAVE WORK FOR YOU?
Last year when the changes were announced, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the rights would ‘allow men to become more hands-on fathers and stop women feeling they have to choose between a career or a baby.’
There are expected to be as many as 285,000 working couples that will be eligible to share leave from April 2015, in turn kick-starting a cultural change in workplaces where fathers feel more confident in taking time off for childcare.
READ: NICK CLEGG SAYS DADS SHOULD BE GIVEN THE SAME PATERNITY PAY AS MUMS
Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson said: ‘The new Shared Parental Leave rules will give real choice to parents. We all know that every family has its own unique set of circumstances, and Shared Parental Leave reflects that reality.
‘Up until now, families have had very limited options when it comes to juggling the demands of work with the arrival of a new baby. The old maternity leave system reinforced the archaic assumptions that the bulk of childcare responsibilities should be done by mums, and failed to recognise the vitally important role that dads and partners have to play.
READ: DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER NICK CLEGG TALKS TO MOTHER&BABY ABOUT PATERNITY LEAVE AND CHILDCARE
‘Mothers and adopters will be able to choose when they return to work and fathers and partners will be able to spend more time bonding with their children during the precious early stages of their development.’
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