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UK government announces shared maternity leave

The UK government has today revealed that new mothers will be able to split their maternity leave between themselves and their husband effectively giving the opportunity for fathers to take six months maternity leave from their work. Despite the fact this is an issue which has been ongoing since 2004 when the Conservative party first suggested such a move it has not been well received in the business marketplace.

Business leaders believe this move could cost upwards of £20 billion a year and cause severe disruption within businesses up and down the country. The changes will come in to effect from April 2011 and under the terms of the legislation the father will be able to claim £123.06 a week for up to six months, i.e. half pay, if the mother decides to go back to work. However, there will be hidden costs with regards to the business workplace with the uncertainty already causing problems.

This would appear to be the next stage of the UK government's Equality Bill which has been controversial and not wholly welcome. However, the basis of giving equal rights to parents is one which many people have been pushing for some time and now it would appear the government has given way.

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