All Civil Service employees will be entitled to full parental leave pay from April 2015, the government has announced today.
Currently, only mothers are entitled to full pay when a couple chooses to share parental leave but under new reforms, fathers will also be given the same entitlements.
Under the current system, employed mothers receive 52 weeks statutory maternity leave with 39 weeks statutory maternity pay. However, fathers only have a statutory entitlement to a maximum of two weeks of leave, paid at the statutory amount.
From April 2015, they may also be able to take additional paternity leave for 26 weeks, paid at a statutory amount if the mother returns to work and takes no further leave.
The reforms build on the announcement in November 2013 that from April 2015 the government will introduce shared parental leave to enable mothers and fathers to share leave entitlement.
The government wants to see the reforms for Civil Service employees pave the way for other public and private sector organisations to follow suit, making this option the norm for more working families.
Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said: “For me, it’s critical that people who choose to work in the public sector know that they’re working in modern, progressive workplaces.
“That is why I think it’s also important we do more to support public sector workers balancing their home and work lives. I pushed for the introduction of shared parental leave in the first place, because I fundamentally believe it’s time for us to sweep away the outdated regulations and prejudices which still limit the choices of too many people in this country.
“To help get that revolution started in the public sector, working with the Cabinet Office, I’ve been pushing hard for radical reforms to the way in which the Civil Service pays and supports its staff after their children are born
“As a result, it will no longer just be new mums working in the Civil Service who can take maternity leave at full pay. Dads will also be able to benefit from enhanced pay for shared parental leave, if both parents choose to carve up their time between them.
“This means more fathers will be able to afford to take time off to spend caring for their newborn children. I want to see this change blaze a trail for other public and private sector organisations to follow, making this option the norm for more working families and increasing the opportunities available to both sexes to earn and care across our society.”