28/01/2010 09:24 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Fathers To Get Up To Six Months Of Paternity Leave

Dads will be allowed to take up to six months of paternity leave if the baby's mum wants to go back to work, it has been reported.

They will be allowed to take time off work in place of the last six months of the mother's maternity leave.

Fathers will be able to take three months off, with statutory pay of £123 a week, and three months unpaid.

So it's probably only really an option for women who earn more than their partners.

Currently fathers are only allowed two weeks of paternity leave, when their child is born - which is also paid at the statutory rate of £123 a week, so is pretty much useless.

The new paternity changes are expected to come into force in April next year.

However business groups are already whingeing about it.

The British Chambers of Commerce says the change will be one of eight extra costs to business that are planned for next year.

David Frost, director general of the BCC, has written to Lord Mandelson and Pat McFadden, the business minister, asking them to stop tinkering with employment law.

However Mr McFadden told The Daily Telegraph that business should not fear the new rules and that they were simply "a useful element to flexible choice" for parents.

He said: "The Government has transformed the help available to new parents with increased maternity pay and leave and the introduction of paternity leave.

"The balance between work and family life has changed for the better in the past decade and these changes will give parents the chance to share their leave and will give families a useful element of flexibility and choice."

The Government only expects between four and eight per cent of those fathers eligible for the new leave to actually take it.

So the number of businesses affected is likely to be pretty small.

And the Government has also backed away from extending paid maternity leave.

So the whole thing looks a bit lame, really, doesn't it?

Source: Daily Telegraph