Vincent Cable, the Business secretary, unveiled a new plan to expand paternity leave for fathers of up to seven months. The fathers would receive two weeks immediately after the child is born and another four weeks to be determined with the employer. If the mother returns to work, the father would be entitled to another four months of paid leave and six weeks of unpaid leave.
Home secretary Theresa May stated the changes, “Will contribute to our commitment to closing down the gender pay gap.” The flexibility in the proposal will allow mothers the opportunity to return to work sooner and fathers to play a larger role in the early development of their offspring.
Reactions to the announcement from the business community are mixed. While many support the proposal there are some major concerns being raised. David Frost from the British Chamber of Commerce stated that, “These kinds of laws create huge uncertainty for employers and prevent them from taking on more staff.” Katja Hall of CBI felt the change is unnecessary because, “The UK already offers some of the most generous provisions in the world.”
Cable expressed the belief that the changes would help parents balance their work and family lives. The proposed changes would take effect in 2015.
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