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Shared paternity leave coming to Britain in 2015

Nadine Bells
Shine On
November 15, 2012

British moms are about to have more maternity-leave options. If they want to return to work after two weeks, they can — and dad can stay home instead.

Starting in 2015 — assuming the proposed legislation is passed next year — a "fully flexible system of parental leave" will allow new moms in England, Scotland and Wales to share their year-long maternity leave with their partner, BBC News reports.

Canadian parents can currently take advantage of a similar paternity leave system, however, they can only share 35 weeks of leave as oppose to Britain's proposed full year.

The British Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, shares his support his countries proposed new system.

"Our current system of maternity leave is antiquated and out of step with the wishes of modern parents who want much greater flexibility in how they look after their children," says Clegg.

"Reform is long overdue and the changes we are making will shatter the perception that women have to be the primary care-givers. In the future, both mothers and fathers will be able to take control of how they balance those precious first months with their child and their careers."

Economia further explains:

"Employed mothers will still be entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave and will have to take at least the initial two weeks of leave after birth (or four weeks if they are manual workers) to recuperate. Thereafter, though, they can choose to end the maternity leave and both parents will be able to share the remaining leave."

As Britain looks to find solutions for maternity leave that best accommodate 21st-century families, paid leave is still on the wish list for American parents.

In the States, the Family and Medical Leave Act allows for 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave for companies with at least 50 workers, TODAY reports.

Canadian mothers can consider themselves more fortunate, thanks to our Employment Insurance system.

"The Canadian government mandates both a leave and a benefits component, the latter being administered by provincial employment insurance plans. Depending on the length of employment history and the hours worked, new mothers can take between 17 and 52 weeks of leave from their jobs. Their employers are required to accept the employees back into their jobs, or the equivalent, at the end of the mandated leave at the same rate of pay with the same employment benefits," the Globe and Mail's Angie Mohr writes.

Did you and your partner split parental leave? Would you?

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