A period of consultation has just been announced by the Government in relation to proposals to implement regulations to allow new mothers to transfer some of their maternity leave entitlement to the child's father.

Under the proposals, mothers with maternity leave outstanding in the second six months of a child's life will be able to transfer up to six months of maternity leave to the child's father, when they return to work. Concerns have previously been raised that this system may be open to abuse, but both parents will be required to self-certify their eligibility and it is thought that employers and HM Revenue and Customs will both be able to undertake further checks if necessary. Providing the eligibility requirements are met, it is proposed that fathers will receive up to three months' pay at the same rate as statutory maternity pay, currently £123.06 per week, providing that the leave is taken during the mother's 39-week maternity pay period.

It is understood that the Government's intention is that the law will be in force by April 2010 and will be effective for parents of children due on or after 3 April 2011.