Minister for Women and Equalities, Jo Swinson, has announced Shared Parental Leave. Any couple receiving the happy news that they are due to have a baby from 5 April onwards will be able to share the care of their child in the way that suits them best. The new shared parental leave can be taken at the same time, allowing both parents to stay home together for up to six months after the birth of their child.
Jo Swinson explained: “We are enabling mothers and fathers to share their leave and pay if they wish, extending the right to request flexible working to all employees, and providing tax-free childcare provisions from 2015 and extended childcare support for 2 year olds from lower income households”
This is a significant step towards changing workplace culture and ending the automatic presumption that parenthood means women taking time out of the workplace. It will also allow fathers to feel more confident in asking for time off for childcare and give them more time to bond with their children.
Employers, too, will benefit from lower staff turnover and a more flexible, motivated workforce. There are expected to be 285,000 working couples a year that will be eligible for shared parental leave. In years to come, I think this will prove to be a pivotal step in the development of true gender equality and more flexible, workable life choices for both women and men.”