The Government recently published the Parental leave Bill on 10th July 2013.
The Bill will amend Part II of the Maternity Protection Act 1994 and the Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act 2004 in order to provide for both maternity and paternity leave for parents of a newborn child. The following changes are proposed as part of the current Bill:
Section 1 proposes to amend Part II of the Maternity Protection Act 1994 to provide an entitlement to maternity or paternity leave after the birth of an employee’s child. In essence it provides that a pregnant employee and the father of that pregnant employee’s child will not be permitted to take maternity or paternity leave at the same time however they will be able to share the minimum period of maternity or paternity leave between them. The period of maternity or paternity leave can be extended by the Minister.The remainder of Section 1 makes the consequential amendments required to the Maternity Protection Act 1994 (as amended) to create the new statutory entitlement to paternity leave.
Section 2 provides for an amendment to Section 21(1) of the Maternity Protection Acts 1994 and 2004 by providing for an enlarged definition of protective leave to include paternity leave.