One thing that would never have happened if the Liberal Democrats had not been in Government is the change towards shared parental leave. Yesterday on LBC’s Call Clegg, Nick Clegg talked about how the state should not dictate which parent took leave when a child was born. It should be up for parents to decide for themselves.
Earlier this week, Businesss Minister Jo Swinson launched a consultation on the Bill which is open for 12 weeks, until 20th May. She said:
Current workplace arrangements for maternity leave are old-fashioned and rigid. Our measures for shared parental leave and flexible working give us a great opportunity to make our workforce even more flexible, help working families and boost economic growth.
Crucially, these proposals will drive a real cultural shift and help working dads play a greater role in their child’s early months. We want to shatter the perception that it is mainly a woman’s role to stay at home and look after the child, and also that flexible working only has benefits for parents and carers. Employers too can gain from a system which allows them keep talented women in the workforce and have more motivated and productive staff.
This consultation will ensure we get the detail right for business and families on how these new proposals will work. The first thought we always had when designing this system was that it did not add significant burdens to business and was as simple as possible for everyone to use. This consultation is about getting the detail right so we can achieve these goals.
It is really important that those of us with an interest in equality respond to this consultation. There will be plenty of more, shall we say, conservative disposition who will try to make out that this is much too difficult and why don’t we just scrap a few more employment rights along the way.
You can make your views known here. It’s easy, and you can do it online.
* Caron Lindsay is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings