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Government launches paternity leave consultation

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The government is consulting on how its plans for paternity leave are to be administered.

Section three of the Work and Families Act – not yet in force – allows fathers to take part of the mother’s maternity leave if she chooses to return to work before the child is one year old.

Employment relations minister Jim Fitzpatrick said the proposals are designed to give working parents more choice in caring responsibilities.

“We know that people want greater flexibility to better juggle their work and family life and that fathers increasingly want to play a bigger part in the upbringing of their children,” he said.

“This consultation seeks views on how the administration of additional paternity leave and pay will work in practice. The government wants to keep the process as straightforward as possible for both employees and their employers.”

The consultation sets out proposals on the administration that will give fathers the opportunity to choose to take up to 26 weeks Additional Paternity Leave to care for their child if certain conditions are met, including the mother returning to work.

In particular, the government is seeking feedback on the following:


  • Whether the father and mother should be able to self-certify themselves as eligible for the scheme. This would keep the process straightforward for businesses

  • How the scheme will work best in practice, and whether checklists and new official forms would provide employers with the confidence to administer the scheme effectively and employees to participate in it.

The consultation, which closes on August 3, can be found here.

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