UK considers sharing parental leave between parents

The first consultation with UK government on proposals to share parental leave between parents has taken place.

Shared parental leave will allow families to make decisions based on finances and parenting styles.

The plans suggest allowing parents to share the leave between them, allowing it to be divided in a number of ways. They could be taken at any time during the child’s first year.

Under the proposals, the father’s leave will be increased from two weeks to six weeks. The mother would be entitled to five months paid leave, and the choice to share her remaining seven weeks (four which are paid) with the father. This means that out of a maximum of 58 weeks leave, the father could take 36 weeks.

The plans aim to encourage more men to stay at home, alongside allowing families to work out what works best for them.

Another big change is the ability to go back to work for a limited period. Under current rules, if a woman goes back to work during her leave, she loses her entitlement to further leave. The new guidelines would allow women to return to work for important deadlines and projects, and go back on leave afterwards. However, businesses will be allowed to request women take their leave in one block if this suits the needs of the business better.

According to the BBC, further consultations are due to take place before a final decision is met, and if successful, the proposals will come into force in 2015.