News In Focus
Six months' paternity leave from 2011, Government confirms
New fathers will be allowed up to six months' paternity leave from April 2011, the Government confirmed yesterday.
The new right will enable a father to take over the mother's last three months of her nine months' maternity pay, to enable her to return to work, and then take a further three months' unpaid leave, giving a total of a year's leave between both parents. Fathers at present have the right to two weeks' paid leave and mothers to 12 months, with up to nine months paid.
Ministers hope to encourage more women to return to work. Business spokespeople attacked the plan as another regulatory measure to impede business recovery, but it was welcomed by charities including the National Childbirth Trust, who said that fathers were undervalued by the present rules.