Government unveils Children and Families Bill

The government has published the Children and Families Bill that will introduce shared parental leave and extend flexible working to all employees.

The bill will implement the parental leave and flexible working commitments the government made in November 2012 in its response to the Modern workplaces consultation.

Under the new measures, working mothers and fathers will be able to share parental leave following a child’s birth, prospective parents will be allowed to take more time off for antenatal appointments,  leave and pay entitlements for adoptive parents will be brought more closely in line with those available to birth parents, while the right to request flexible working will be extended to all employees.

Jo Swinson, business minister, said: “Current workplace arrangements are old-fashioned and rigid. The Children and Families Bill will bring the way mums and dads balance their lives at work and at home into the 21st century.

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“Employers will soon get used to more men taking time off after their child is born and more mothers returning to work earlier, shattering the perception that it is mainly a woman’s role to stay at home and look after the child. These measures will really help our aim of ensuring more businesses are making best use of women’s talents throughout the organisation, from the boardroom to the shop floor.

“The new system is good for business because it will create a more motivated and flexible, talented workforce. Employers will be able to attract and retain women and prevent them from dropping out of the world of work once they start a family. Flexible working will also help widen the pool of talent in the labour market, helping to drive growth.”