Nick Clegg unveils government plans for flexible parental leave

Employment law is in the headlines again as Nick Clegg outlined Coalition plans to enact legislation which would allow parents to take flexible parental leave between them depending upon their personal circumstances. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) also sets out the results of its consultation process on flexible working hours for all employees.

In a speech this morning in Putney, South-West London, the Deputy PM outlined plans to allow parents to effectively share a maximum of 12 months parental leave between them with far fewer restrictions. The objective behind these changes is to remove the “clapped out rules” relating to work/life balance which discourage professional development amongst new mothers. “Equality should not end at 30” says Nick Clegg.

“From 2015, the UK will shift to an entirely new system of flexible parental leave. Under the new rules, a mother will be able to trigger flexible leave at any point – if and when she feels ready. That means that whatever time is left to run on her original year can be taken by her partner instead. Or they can chop up the remaining time between them – taking it in turns. Or they can take time off together – whatever suits them. The only rule is that no more than 12 months can be taken in total; with no more than 9 months at guaranteed pay. And, of course, couples will need to be open with their employers, giving them proper notice” said the Deputy PM this morning.

He also announced plans to allow fathers the right to attend two antenatal classes, but plans to extend paternity leave have been shelved after concerns that too much leave could harm small businesses in a precarious economy.

The full BIS consultation report can be found here.