New rules introduced by the Liberal Democrats in Government will transform how parents of new-born children choose to manage their care in the first year. Mothers will still take at least two weeks of maternity leave immediately after the birth but, thereafter, working couples are entitled to share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between them. Research published by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills underlined the importance of shared parental leave in allowing parents to choose a pattern of leave that fits their family situation.
Commenting on the changes, Prospective Parliamentary Liberal Democrat candidate for Guildford, Kelly-Marie Blundell, said: "People are rejecting outdated gender stereotypes about parenting. It is a shared endeavour and many fathers understandably want to spend more time at home adapting to the needs of a new baby. Shared parental leave will let couples choose how to share their childcare responsibilities in whatever way works best for them."
Local mother Sarah Gibson added: "Hopefully this will mean less discrimination against women in the workplace. With employers unaware of whether a woman or her partner will take time off in the future to care for children, side-lining women of child-bearing age in the recruitment process and from future promotions becomes a pointless exercise."