The government is set this month to announce changes to employment law to allow fathers to share parental leave with mothers. Fathers will then be able to claim state benefits during the first year of the baby’ life should the mother return to work after just two weeks. The changes have come as a result of beliefs that many woman have found it difficult to get jobs as employers are concerned over maternity benefits. These changes, while some have said are anti-business, is hoped will go some way to remove the fears over woman hires and also encourage women to start a family as they will now have additional options open to them.
There has been some worry around the possibility that couples will be able to claim benefits at the same time, however the DWP has studied the situation and there will be a new IT system introduced to manage the matter going forward.
Under current maternity benefits a woman is able to claim 90% on earnings for the first six weeks after the birth and can receive up to 90% or £135.45 a week, whichever is lowest for an additional 33 weeks. Fathers are entitled to two weeks leave after the birth and under these new proposals women will be able to then transfer these benefits to the father after the two initial weeks.
The scheme will be put before Parliament in early 2013 in a Children and Families Bill.
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