Nick Clegg has announced that the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills is to launch a consultation to design a flexible system of shared parental leave, to be introduced in 2015.

Mr Clegg proposed that the changes to parental leave would simultaneously provide fathers with the opportunity to take time off from work in order to care for their children, whilst protecting a mother's existing right to paid time off after birth.

The flexibility of the system will enable parents to share parental leave in a way that is practical for them, perhaps splitting it between them, perhaps taking the leave in chunks rather than all at once, subject to the agreement of their employers.