Paid maternity leave could increase by six months

The
Government could extend paid maternity leave by six months, according to the
children’s minister, Margaret Hodge.

She
added that a portion of leave could be reserved for fathers taking ‘daddy
leave’ to give them more time with their children.

At
present, mothers are entitled to 26 weeks’ maternity leave, and fathers are
allowed two weeks’ paternity leave.

In
a keynote speech to the Social Market Foundation in London, Hodge said:
"One possibility we should consider could be to extend paid maternity
leave for a further six months.

“However,
we should not naturally assume that this role falls on the mother alone,” she
said. “Parents themselves, not Government, are best placed to decide who should
stay at home and care for their own child.”

Laurence
Collins, director of Ceridian HR Consulting, said there was a danger that the
proposals could be seen as another tilting of the playing field in favour of
families with children.

“This
should be part of a ‘reason neutral’ flexible working strategy, giving all employees
the right to request flexible working,” he said.

By Michael Millar

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