New fathers will be able to share maternity leave and pay with mothers under controversial plans to be announced later this month by David Cameron and Nick Clegg.
Under the plans, fathers will be able to take time off work and claim state benefits throughout most of the first year of their baby’s life, if the mother returns to employment.
The mother will be able to return to work after a fortnight.
The Government has delayed the introduction of these plans until October 2015.
The current system of maternity allowance will be re-named flexible parental leave to make it clear that both mothers and fathers are entitled to the state support.
To address fears from women’s charities, mothers will still receive the assistance automatically unless they apply to transfer it to their partners.
Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg are expected to announce the scheme later this month.
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