Elizabeth Duff, Senior Policy Adviser at NCT, the UK’s largest parents’ charity, said:
“New parents make dedicated, loyal, hard-working employees, so long as their parental leave and return to work are managed well. Introducing a period where both mothers and fathers can take time together is a positive change, and more flexibility could help parents find the balance between work and home life that will reduce the current strain on families.
“Longer or more flexible parental leave should be a realistic option for all parents, so we continue to call for improved provision for parents who receive the statutory pay of less than £130 a week.
“In addition, we are concerned the new proposals may not be supported by legislation but be available only at employers’ discretion. Greater clarity and support for employers and parents are needed, especially in smaller companies.
“Any proposed change to the time a mother can stay at home needs to take into account the government’s health advice that exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months has the optimum health outcomes for both mother and baby.”