Following an announcement last month of its plans to introduce "additional paternity leave" for fathers of children due on or after 3 April 2011, the Government has now launched consultation on the draft regulations.

The proposal gives fathers a right to up to six months extra leave which must be taken: (i) after the mother has returned to work; (ii) no earlier than 20 weeks after the birth of the child; and (ii) no later than the child's first birthday. Fathers will be paid for this extra leave at the same rate as statutory maternity pay if it is taken during the mother's maternity pay period.

The consultation, which closes on 20 November 2009, seeks views on whether the proposed administration of the scheme (which relies largely on self-certification of eligibility by the parents) is sufficiently straightforward for employers and employees, whilst ensuring that it is not open to abuse.