Liberal Democrats delivering radical reform to shared parental leave and flexible working

Ed Davey MP today welcomed Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minster, Nick Clegg’s announcement of radical reforms to parental leave, allowing both parents to share up to a year’s leave to look after their new-born children.

The changes will deliver a long held Liberal Democrat commitment to make parental leave more flexible, allowing fathers to play a greater role in raising their children and helping mothers to return to work at a time that’s right for them.

Employees and businesses in Kingston and Surbiton will benefit from new proposals also announced today to extend the right to request flexible hours to all workers. These changes give employees greater scope to balance home and work life whilst providing a much needed economic boost for businesses by helping them to recruit and retain staff.

Commenting, local Lib Dem MP Edward Davey said:

“The Liberal Democrats have long supported more flexible working and parental leave and I’m incredibly proud to say that the Coalition Government is delivering on this issue.

“Shared parental leave is about fairness for women in the workplace and equality for men and women as they plan their families and careers.

“It will signal one of the greatest advances for equality in recent years and will finally put an end to maternity leave contributing to a decision on choosing who to hire.

“It will also help employers to attract and retain women in their organisations and prevent women dropping out of the workforce once they start a family.”

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said:

“Liberal Democrats believe that our current system of maternity leave is out-of-date and out-of-step with the wishes of modern parents who want much greater flexibility in how they look after their children.

“I believe reform is long overdue and the changes we are making will shatter the perception that women have to be the primary care-givers. In the future, both mothers and fathers will be able to take control of how they balance those precious first months with their child and their careers.

“This is good news not only for parents and parents-to-be, but employers too who will benefit from a much more flexible and motivated workforce.”

Commenting further, Liberal Democrat Minister for Employment Relations, Jo Swinson, said:

“Liberal Democrats believe that if we are to deliver sustainable, strong growth we need to get the best out of both men and women in the workforce.

“Current arrangements are old-fashioned, inflexible and gender-biased. People should have the right to choose how they balance their work and family commitments.

“These proposals bring good news for business – not least a more motivated and productive workforce. Employers will be able to recruit and retain staff from a wider pool of talent in turn helping to diversify our economy and drive growth.”