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Family law: New paternity law changes face UK business backlash

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Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is under fire from UK business after outlining his proposals to expand paternity leave regulations.

Clegg wants to allow fathers to be able to take part of their partner's maternity leave, in a move that has been deemed unworkable by business groups and employment lawyers.

Clegg wants the fathers to have the choice to share parental leave, taking the role of primary care-giver from as early as six weeks after a baby's birth. In effect, this is the point where the higher-rate of maternity leave ends, and the lower rate pay of £125 a week starts.

David Frost of the British Chambers of Commerce said to City AM: "Business is not against the principle of shared parental leave, but this is too difficult for small businesses to deal with, and could prevent them from taking on staff."

Again cited in City AM, employment solicitor Adrian Crawford of Kingsley Napley said: "The problem with chopping and changing is that companies will struggle to put a replacement [worker] in place."

The government are set to push through the new paternity laws by April 2011. The new regulations will legally allow a mother to transfer six months of her maternity leave to the child's father.

What do you think of the new proposed paternity laws?

Does Clegg's new laws have hidden pitfalls or do they fit a modern day Britain?

Do you think the changes are workable or will businesses be unable to cope?

Join the debate in the Findlaw Community, where you'll find answer to most major topics within UK law.

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