Children and families bill to herald new era for working parents

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Business

A children and families bill is set to improve the work-life balance of employees, according to new plans unveiled yesterday (February 5th).

Mothers and fathers will be able to choose how they share parental leave to look after their children in the first year of birth, enabling dads to spend more time with their offspring.

Parents are to be granted greater flexibility in terms of how they 'mix and match' their parental leave. They will be able to take the leave in turns or take it together.

The only stipulation is that they must not have more than 52 weeks combined in total.

Business minister Jo Swinson commented that the current workplace arrangements are "old-fashioned and rigid".

"The Children and Families Bill will bring the way mums and dads balance their lives at work and at home into the 21st century," she said.

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has said that the current rules of parental leave belong "in the 1950s" and has welcomed the move to make the system more flexible.

Meanwhile, Working Families chief executive Sarah Jackson, commented: "Employers who allow flexible working benefit from better retention rates, reduced absenteeism and from loyal and motivated employees.

"We welcome the greater flexibility for parents to share the leave and pay in the first year of their baby's life."

Posted by Alex Boardman