New fathers could share up to a year’s leave with partners under Tory plans

Fathers would be able to share up to a year’s paid leave from work with their partners after the birth of a baby, under proposals to be unveiled by the Conservatives today.

The Tory leader Michael Howard will outline his party’s plans in a speech this morning just as the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, addresses a major childcare conference, reports The Guardian.

Howard will attempt to outflank the Government by proposing a minimum £150 weekly payment – almost £50 more a week than at present.

And in an unprecedented concession to the growing number of men who want to play an active childcaring role, Howard will also promise fathers the option of sharing the leave for the first time.

Meanwhile, Blair, addressing the Daycare Trust conference, will today promise to offer subsidised school-based “wrap-around care” from 8am to 6pm for all primary school children by the end of the next parliament – the first time the Government has put a timescale on the policy.

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