The Queen’s Speech: Parental leave to become more flexible

The government will bring in legislation to enable new parents to share parental leave.

Under measures proposed in the Children and Families Bill, parental leave would become more flexible to enable parents to share parenting responsibilities and balance work and family commitments.

Prime minister David Cameron and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said the Bill will “put families front and centre of our national life, with unprecedented support for parents”.

The proposals for parents to share parental leave following the birth of a child has been welcomed by charity Working Families. However,it warned against the risks of cutting maternity leave to 18 weeks, as proposed by a government consultation last year.

Working Families chief executive Sarah Jackson said: “We want to see more choice and flexibility for fathers to share the care, and more paternity leave would be a great step forward.

“We’re disappointed that there was nothing about extending flexible working rights in the Queen’s speech. Good employers already offer flexible working to all their employees because they know that it leads to high performance and reduces costs.

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“We urge the government to include an extension of the right to request flexible working in its programme to boost economic growth and help everyone get the work-life balance they need.”

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