Theresa May announced new arrangements to give parents greater freedom regarding parental leave.
Her comments came as the government underlined its commitment to introducing a new system of flexible parental leave.
Speaking at a Demos event, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said that a consultation will be launched in the coming weeks, with the aim of introducing a new system in 2015.
Currently, employed mothers receive a year-long period of maternity leave, with 39 of these weeks paid.
Fathers receive just two paid weeks. You can find out on the Direct gov website.
But the coalition government has committed to making the system more flexible in order to help people balance work and family commitments.
Choice and freedom
Home Secretary and minister for women and equalities Theresa May said: ‘It’s not the job of government to tell families how they should be raising their children - they should be able to decide for themselves.
‘That’s why we’re going to work with business to create a new system of flexible leave that gives new parents the choice and freedom to decide what’s best for them and their children.’
Changes in April
From April, fathers will able to take an extra 26 weeks of leave if their partner chooses to return to work after 20 weeks.
Before then the Department for Business will begin consulting on the best way to make the system even more flexible.
Details of plans to extend the right to request flexible working to cover all parents of children aged 17 or under will also be unveiled.