Plans to allow new fathers to take advantage of mothers’ unused maternity leave have received a “cautious welcome” from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg outlined the reforms at an event in London yesterday (January 17th 2010), revealing plans to hold a consultation on the issue and implying present regulations were outdated and rigid.

“There will be problems extending the existing entitlement to paternity leave,” said CIPD employee relations adviser Mike Emmett. “It has to be right in principle to move towards a more equal sharing of the burden of childcare.”

He added that extending paternity leave could help to reduce the amount of discrimination against female job applicants and welcomed Mr Clegg’s announcement that the overhaul will not be introduced until at least 2015.

Business secretary Vince Cable also backed the Liberal Democrat leader and insisted that the coalition would take the concerns of smaller companies into account as part of the consultation process.

Posted by Hayley Edwards