New plans will allow parents to share maternity leave

The Government have announced their intention to introduce a system of “flexible parental leave” which will allow fathers to take time off work and claim benefits if the mother chooses to return to employment.

This new system would work well for families where the mother was the main breadwinner, as she would be able to return to work after just 2 weeks leaving the father to benefit from state allowances.

The Daily Telegraph disclosed that the introduction of this new joint allowance will be delayed until October 2015, following a disagreement in the Cabinet between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats on the negative impact of the scheme on already struggling businesses.

Mothers will still receive the financial assistance automatically unless they decide to transfer it to their partners.

Over 400,000 families could stand to benefit from the proposal, but according to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills their predictions are that a maximum of 13,500 couples would actually find the new system financially beneficial.

Whereas the Coalition is committed to introducing family-friendly policies, there are some in the Government who are concerned that businesses – many of which are struggling in the current economic climate – should not be burdened with the possibility of more uncertainty regarding their male employees.

Under the current maternity allowance system which applies only to women, mothers are entitled to 90% of their earnings for the first six weeks after birth, and then can receive a maternity allowance for an additional 33 weeks, with some employers offering more than the statutory minimum.

At Do I Have A Case we deal with complaints on a weekly basis from women who have encountered problems with their employers, often related to returning to work after the maternity leave ends. If you have experienced discrimination in relating to pregnancy or maternity, call us FREE on 0800 014 8727 for a confidential discussion about your rights.