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At the moment, fathers can take up to 6 months off, after the baby is 20 weeks old.

From 2015, a fully flexible system of parental leave in England, Scotland and Wales will give women a clearer “route back” to work, ministers have said.

New mothers will be able to return to work two weeks after childbirth and share the rest of their maternity leave with their partner under new plans.

  • new mother will be able to trigger flexible leave at any point after the first two weeks’ recovery period
  • Parents will be able to share the remaining 50 weeks between them as they like
  • Leave could be taken in turns, in different blocks, or at the same time
  • Maximum leave will remain 12 months, nine of them on guaranteed pay
  • Couples will need to be “open” with employers and give them “proper notice”
  • Paternity leave to remain at two weeks but to be reviewed in 2018

I think this is an interesting step, (and workable, especially under RTI) but what most parents would probably find more useful would be the ability to both work part-time and claim SMP.  They would also, of course, like cheaper childcare.

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