Parents to share maternity leave under new plans (UK)

Telegraph (UK) 11 Oct 2012
Fathers will be able to take time off work and claim state benefits throughout the majority of the first year of their baby’s life if the mother returns to employment. This will allow the main household earner, if the mother, to return to work after just a fortnight. The Daily Telegraph can disclose that the introduction of the joint allowance will be delayed until October 2015, following a Cabinet disagreement over the impact of the scheme on hard-pressed businesses. The system of maternity allowance will be renamed “flexible parental leave” to make it clear that both mothers and fathers are entitled to the state support. To address fears from women’s charities, mothers will still receive the assistance automatically unless they apply to transfer it to their partners. It is understood that mothers will only be required to take the first fortnight of leave after giving birth, for health reasons, after which fathers can take the paid time off work.