As part of its plans to create a modern workplace for the modern economy, the government has today launched a consultation on plans to introduce a new system of flexible parental leave from 2015.

Under the new proposals, mothers will automatically be granted five months’ paid leave, while fathers will receive an extra four weeks – taking their total leave to six weeks.

The couple will then be allowed to divide a further seven months between them, meaning that a father could take a maximum of 36 weeks.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“Our proposals will encourage greater choice by giving employees and their employers the flexibility to find arrangements to suit them both.

New parents should be able to choose their childcare arrangements for themselves, rather than being dictated to by rigid Government regulation as is currently the case. And employers should be encouraged to come to agreement with employees on how work and family responsibilities can be met simultaneously.

“These measures are fairer for fathers and maintain the existing entitlements for mothers – but crucially give parents much greater choice over how to balance their work and family commitments.