Mothers will soon be able to take a year's paid maternity leave, in plans to be announced this week.
The move, to be unveiled by Tony Blair, is aimed at providing an expansion of childcare to help parents achieve a better work-life balance. The Prime Minister will outline plans to help parents of children from infancy to teenagers, ranging from tax breaks and subsidies for daycare.
Mothers currently have six months paid leave and the right to another six months unpaid. Extending that to a year's paid leave - part of which could be taken by the father - will be a central goal of the new plans.
The Observer says it is unlikely any new package will be introduced before 2006, as negotiations over cost are still taking place.
Measures to boost training and pay for childcare workers are also expected to be announced.