The Government has proposed a more flexible system for parental leave to be introduced in 2015. The Modern Workplaces consultation would allow mothers and fathers to share their allowance of leave by taking a number of different blocks during their child’s first year.
With the possibility of a father’s paid leave increasing from two weeks to six weeks and mums receiving five months’ paid leave, women would be able to share the other seven months they are entitled to with their partner. This would increase the maximum paid and unpaid allowance per family from 54 to 58 weeks, with fathers able to take up to 36 weeks of that.
Parents would also be able to decide whether to take the leave all at once, or return to work for short periods during the first year, allowing both mums and dads to balance work and home life more effectively.
Business Secretary Vince Cable has commented that this would give employers and employees greater flexibility instead of “being dictated to by rigid Government regulation”.
However, the proposal has met resistance from some who state that the UK already has some of the most generous parental leave in the world. This would mean the likelihood of a loophole being introduced to the policy so that some employers could stipulate that parental leave must be taken in one continuous block.
What do you think? Do we have enough parental leave? Is it flexible enough for you?