I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Shared parental leave and pay will introduce greater choice and flexibility for parents, allowing working couples to choose how they manage the care of their new baby, during the early months. This will enable mothers to return to work earlier, leaving the baby in the care of their partner if they so choose.
The UK already has a good record for mothers returning to work following the birth of a child. The Maternity and Paternity rights survey 2009-10 shows that 77% of mothers who had worked before the birth returned to work by the time their child was 12 to 18-months-old.
84% of mothers who returned to work after their maternity leave, returned to the same job with the same employer.