It has been announced that the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills will launch a consultation process to explore proposals to implement a new flexible working system by 2015.
The new system may also allow parents to share leave by splitting it between them. The way in which this is divided would, it is proposed, be up to the parents to decide and may include taking leave in separate chunks rather than all at once, if the employer is agreeable to this.
The announcement appears to form part of an overall strategy by the government to introduce a shared approach to parenting, with new regulations allowing a mother to transfer some or all of her additional maternity leave to the father also due to come into force in April this year. Under these regulations, liability to claim statutory maternity pay may also be transferred to the father’s employer (with liability being capped at a maximum of 13 weeks).
The recent government proposals were announced at the launch of a new report by think tank Demos, which discusses modern parenting and makes a number of recommendations on parent-focused policy. It remains to be seen what shape these new government proposals will take and whether any similar initiatives will follow.