As a result of the Work and Families Bill, fathers may be given up to six months paternity leave, part of which will be paid. This could make up to 400,000 men eligible for a break from work each year under this radical extension of "family friendly" rights for workers, expected to be introduced in April 2007. The proposals will significantly raise the current entitlement of two weeks' paid leave for fathers and will give Britain some of the most generous paternity rights in the world.

Ministers believe they have improved mothers’ rights and now want to do more for fathers by breaking the “macho” culture of men neglecting their children by working long hours. However, it is likely that the legislation will be strongly opposed by business groups, who say it will be disruptive and expensive, especially for small firms.

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