The government has confirmed its proposals to introduce shared parental leave for new mothers and fathers from April 2015.

Under the plans, the first two weeks of leave after the birth of a child will be reserved for the mother, but the remaining 50 weeks can be shared between the mother and father and will not have to be taken in one continuous block.

There will however, be a three-time limit on the number of occasions a parent can notify their employer that they will be taking a period of shared parental leave.

Employees will also be expected to give at least eight weeks’ notice of any leave, in order “to support businesses in being able to plan their workforce”.

Another element confirmed today was the right for either parent to return to the same job if they take a total of 26 weeks’ leave or less. Parents will also be entitled to 20 ‘keeping in touch-style’ days while on shared parental leave.

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