Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has unveiled plans to allow fathers to take longer paternity leave from work, in what the government says is an attempt to ensure regulations better reflect modern British family life.

Speaking at the launch of a report from thinktank Demos, the Liberal Democrat leader insisted that current rules were too rigid and often made it difficult for new parents to spend a sufficient amount of time with their children.

“They’re based on a view of life in which mothers stay at home and fathers are the only breadwinners. That’s an Edwardian system that has no place in 21st century Britain,” he explained.

Mr Clegg added that the coalition was aiming to create a new climate of openness between employers and staff over long-term paternity leave, as well as allowing companies to retain talented employees.

Last week, fellow Lib Dem minister Lynne Featherstone issued guidance to firms on how to adapt to the positive action reforms outlined in last year’s Equality Act.

Posted by Hayley Edwards