Fathers could take a year paternity leave if the mother is main breadwinner

New coalition plans could allow mothers to return to work after a fortnight while fathers stay home with baby

Fathers could be able to share maternity leave if the mother returns to employment under new plans announced by the Coalition.

Dads could take time off work and claim state benefits throughout the first year of the baby’s life.

If the main household earner is the mother, she could return to work after a fortnight.

The new plans, known as ‘flexible parental leave’ would still allow mothers to receive assistance automatically unless they apply to transfer this to the child’s father.

However, according to the Daily Telegraph, the introduction of these plans could be delayed until October 2015 due to Cabinet discussions over the impact of this scheme on businesses.

According to official figures 420,000 families every year could benefit from the proposal – although estimates from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills says this figure could be as low as 13,500.

A new IT system, which could cost a staggering £22m, would need to be built.

A government source told the Telegraph: ‘This is being introduced slowly and with great care to ensure that it does not undermine business during the difficult economic times.

‘But it was a Coalition pledge and it is important to both the Prime Minister and the Liberal Democrats that both parents should be supported to spend time with their new children.’

Under the current system, mothers are legally entitled to 90 per cent of their earnings for the first six weeks after birth.

They then can receive a maternity allowance. This is equivalent to either 90 per cent of earnings or £135.45 a week, whichever is the lower, for an additional 33 weeks.

Fathers are entitled to two weeks of paternity leave. Mothers can then transfer their leave to their partners after the first six months.

What do you think about these plans? Would you take advantage of transferring leave to your child’s father? Let us know in the comments below.

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