Plans well underway to overhaul Edwardian system of paternity leave
Delivering on the commitment in the coalition agreement, the Government announced plans this month to allow more sharing of parental leave from the earliest stages of pregnancy. Aiming for an introduction in 2015, Nick Clegg described the current paternity leave allowance of two weeks as ‘paltry’.
He said: ‘These rules patronise women and marginalise men. They’re based on a view of life in which mothers stay at home and fathers are the only breadwinners.
‘That’s an Edwardian system that has no place in 21st century Britain.
‘Women suffer. Mothers are expected to take on the vast bulk of childcare themselves. If they don’t, they very often feel judged. If they do, they worry about being penalised at work. So it’s no surprise that many working women feel that they can’t win.
‘Children suffer, too often missing out on time with their fathers. And men suffer too.
‘More and more fathers want to play a hands-on role with their young children. But too many feel that they can’t.’
More recently, Theresa May, Minister for Women & Equality, told the House of Commons that flexible parental leave would ‘give families the choice to decide which parent wishes to stay at home’. She said that the coalition would be launching a consultation on the proposals shortly.