Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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New Help for Parents
Legislation to give parents more choice and flexibility in how they use maternity and paternity leave will be introduced under Government plans outlined today.
New fathers can take advantage of additional paternity leave and pay during the second six months of the child’s life, if the mother wishes to return to work with maternity leave outstanding. This will enable parents to share a period of paid leave between them, giving families greater flexibility in how they choose to look after their children.
In order to give employers time to adjust the changes will be introduced for parents of children due on or after 3 April 2011.
Business Minister Pat McFadden said:
“The Government has transformed the help available to new parents with increased maternity pay and leave and the introduction of paternity leave. The balance between work and family life has changed for the better in the past decade and these changes will give parents the chance to share their leave will give families a useful element of flexibility and choice.
Harriet Harman, Minister for Women and Equality, said:
“Mothers will be able to choose to transfer the last six months of their maternity leave to the father, with three months paid. This gives families radically more choice and flexibility in how they balance work and care of children, and enables fathers to play a bigger part in bringing up their children.
“We’ve doubled maternity leave; doubled maternity pay; introduced paternity leave; more than doubled good quality affordable childcare places; and introduced right to request flexible working.
“This is a further family friendly policy.”
The move comes as the Government publishes its response to a consultation on the subject held at the end of 2009. The regulations will mean:
Fathers will be entitled to up to six months extra leave, which can be taken once the mother has returned to work;This new provision will be available during the second six months of the child’s life, giving parents the option of dividing a period of paid leave entitlement between themSome of the leave may be paid if taken during the mother’s 39 week maternity pay period. This would be paid at the same rate as Statutory Maternity Pay (currently £123.06);Parents will be required to “self certify” by providing details of their eligibility to their employer. Employers and HMRC will both be able to carry out further checks of entitlement if necessary.
The Government has tabled the regulations for Parliament to consider as soon as possible. They will need to be debated and approved by each House before they can be implemented. Subject to this, the Government intends that the law be in force by April 2010 and have effect for parents of children due on or after 3 April 2011.
Notes to Editors
1) Employed fathers are currently entitled to two weeks paid paternity leave and mothers to 52 weeks maternity leave, of which up to 39 weeks are paid. Employed parents are also entitled to a total of 13 weeks unpaid parental leave until the child’s fifth birthday. Parents of children aged 16 and under have the right to request flexible working. These rights will not be affected by the introduction of additional paternity leave.
2) Legislation already delivered by Government includes the extension of Statutory Maternity Leave from six to nine months and increased Statutory Maternity Pay from £60.20 a week in 2001 to £123.06 now, the largest increase in maternity allowance since 1948 and the introduction of Statutory Paternity Leave.
3) A public consultation on the legal and technical aspectsof Additional Paternity Leave & Pay took place between 25 September and 20 November 2009. The Government response to the public consultation can be viewed here: http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file54374.pdf
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.
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