Lib Dems Promise Six Weeks' Paternity Leave
The Liberal Democrats will promise fathers an extra four weeks' paternity leave under new manifesto plans due to be announced.
The policy would extend the total parental leave to 58 weeks by extending fathers' current entitlement of two weeks to six.
Under the plans, the law would be amended to provide parental rights to cover six weeks reserved for working fathers and six weeks for working mothers.
The remaining time would be available to share between partners.
For same-sex couples, each partner would be entitled to six weeks' reserved leave, with the rest available to share.
The policy goes further than the Coalition's introduction of shared parental leave from next April.
Business and Equalities Minister Jo Swinson said shared paternal leave plays an essential part in building a stronger economy and a fairer society.
"It allows couples to choose how to split time off work to look after their new baby," she said.
"Extending paternity leave is an important next step to encouraging new dads to spend more time with their child in those vital early weeks and months after birth.
"When parents share caring responsibilities, more equality in the workplace will follow.
"It is a nonsense to think it is only the mother's job to look after children. Parenting is a shared responsibility."
A Lib Dem spokeswoman said the policy would also encourage fathers to spend more time with their children.
"It's very important to us. We have done lots in government so far to make sure fathers get more rights," she said.
"This is just the extra step in encouraging them to spend more time with their children."