In a speech yesterday (Tuesday), the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg admitted he has dropped plans to extend paid paternity leave for fathers from two to six weeks after opposition from business leaders and the Conservatives.
According to The Independent, the Deputy PM has promised to revive the plans in better economic times. Fathers-to-be will, however, be allowed to take unpaid leave to attend two antenatal apointments to allow them to become involved in their partner’s pregnancy.
In his speech, Mr Clegg said childcare was one of his top priorities and laid out coalition plans for flexible parental leave, which include:
- New mothers able to trigger flexible leave at any point after the first two weeks’ recovery period
- Parents allowed to share the remaining 50 weeks between them
- Leave to be taken in turns, in different blocks, or at the same time
- Couples should be “open” with employers and give “proper notice”
Meanwhile, Equalities Minister Maria Miller announced £2m will be available to boost childcare and get more women back to work.
Grants of between £250 and £500 will be available for new child-minders and nurseries to help cover legal and insurance costs, health and safety training and equipment.
Mr Clegg emphasised, however, that he would oppose cuts to red tape if it meant an increase in rogue nurseries or poor standards.