Nick Clegg: Parents can share the joys and responsibilities of bringing children into the world

Nick Clegg went on Woman’s Hour yesterday after announcing the Coalition’s plans to allow parents to choose which of them takes leave when they have a new baby.

He talked to Jane Garvey about the plans for around 20 minutes, fielding some pretty robust questions, including whether men or women actually wanted this change. He was quite firm that it wasn’t for the government to say that women should take time off and men should work when a baby was born.

He’s clearly keen that radical changes he announced yesterday, which give couple discretion to split all but 2 weeks of the year’s parental leave between them, and to allow all employees to ask for flexible working, are the start. He wants to increase the defined amount of paternity leave available too. He said that:

For cultural change to happen, having a use-it-or-lose it block of paternity leave is important.

On flexible working, he cited an example of people working the same number of hours, but in a slightly different pattern – perhaps taking a Wednesday morning off to look after grandchildren and making the hours up the next day.

You can listen to the whole interview here.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • ” Parents can share the joys and responsibilities of bringing children into the world”
    And a pity that divorce tears that contract into shreds. The Family Law Courts, instead of taking Joint Residence as the starting point of post divorce care of children, instead, ‘secretly’, do everything they can to ‘cleanse’ fathers from their children’s lives.
    No amount of Batman & Robin clambering the palace walls to protest for fathers justice, or purple powder thrown at Tony Blair from the gallery of the House of Commons, ever made any difference.
    Married fathers may have more rights, but divorced fathers still face the secret Family Law ‘culling’ that they have always had to endure.

  • ” fielding some pretty robust questions, including whether men or women actually wanted this change”

    Not sure I would see that as a robust question as much as an odd one. The majority of people may not want to ware a velvet polka dot suit, that isn’t a reason to prevent people from wearing them.

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