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Modern workplaces: the new landscape for parental leave

The goverment’s plans for ‘flexible parental leave’ may be an improvement for parents, but could make life harder for employers says Jane Wheeler

6 December 2012

In May 2011, the government published its Consultation on Modern Workplaces, which sets out a new framework for maternity leave and parental leave. The aims were to give parents a “real choice over balancing careers and family responsibilities”, recognising the important role that fathers can play in a child’s early life and giving women the opportunity to return to work if they wish.

Now, 18-months later, the government has responded to the consultation paper with a range of proposed changes to parental leave, most of which are due to take effect in 2015.

There is currently a 52 week period of maternity leave. Provided certain eligibility conditions are met, the leave is generally paid for the first six weeks at 90 per cent of pay, the next 33 weeks at the statutory maternity pay rate (which changes each year) and the last 13 weeks unpaid. There are currently no proposals to c...

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