Following on from our article on flexible parental leave, Nick Clegg is today expected to announce the Government’s plans for a fully flexible system of parental leave which should come into effect in 2015. The plans would allow new mothers to return to work two weeks after childbirth and share the rest of their maternity leave with their partner, and follow the Government’s consultation on extending flexible working.

Nick Clegg is expected to announce that:

  • New mothers will be able to trigger flexible leave at any point after the first two weeks` recovery period and can share the remaining 50 weeks’ leave with their partner as they like
  • Flexible leave could be taken in turns or at the same time and will not need to be taken in continuous blocks
  • No more than 12 months can be taken in total, with no more than 9 months at guaranteed pay
  • Paternity leave is to remain at two weeks but to be reviewed in 2018
  • Expectant fathers will be able to claim unpaid leave to attend two antenatal appointments

The plans have been praised by trade unions and business groups alike, with businesses calling for the new laws to be clear and simple to administer. If implemented, the new rules will clearly be a huge shake-up of current arrangements and businesses will need to plan how they will cope with these.