Children’s minister Beverley Hughes is calling for paid paternity leave to be doubled and pay to be improved for maternity, paternity and parental leave.
Writing in a book to be published by think-tank the Institute for Public Policy Research, the children’s minister says work-life balance is “unobtainable” for many low-income families, “where the impact of low pay, job insecurity and long working hours bite hardest”.
Hughes says parental leave should be doubled to 26 weeks in the first five years of a child’s life and the first 13 weeks should be paid.
Maternity and paternity pay should be increased from the current £109 a week, equivalent to two-thirds of the minimum wage.
Hughes says: “We need to help families negotiate the balancing act between care work and paid work, avoiding negative trade-offs between time and money.”
The children’s minister also calls for the right to flexible working to be extended from parents of young or disabled children and carers to all employees.
The book will be published by the IPPR in May to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the Labour government.