Government plans to introduce shared maternity and paternity leave could be delayed until October 2015, according to a national newspaper.

Changes that would enable mothers and fathers to share maternity leave more flexibly were announced in last year’s Modern Workplaces consultation, which suggested bringing in the new rules by April 2015.

But a senior government source, quoted by the Telegraph newspaper on Friday has suggested that any introduction of new rules could be pushed back to October because of concerns about the impact on businesses

The new rules would entitled couples with a new baby to a total of 58 weeks of leave, with 22 weeks reserved for the mother, six reserved for the father and the remaining 30 weeks to be shared between the parents as they choose.

New parents could also decide to take their leave simultaneously and choose to request leave in blocks of any duration, although employers would also have the right to refuse.

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