According to reports today in The Guardian, the Government will say fathers will have a legal right to take the place of the mother at home for the last three months of her nine-month maternity leave.
During that time they would be eligible for statutory government pay of £123 a week.
They will then be allowed to take an additional unpaid three months off, which would allow parents to have a total of 12 months' leave between them.
Bettina Bender, partner and employment specialist at law firm CM Murray, said: "The Government plans to allow parents the right to essentially swap maternity leave, with fathers also being to take on some of the mother's entitlement, is part of its drive to allow more flexibility in the workplace for parents.
"It remains to be seen whether fathers will feel able to take the extended period of leave to look after a new baby without fearing that their career will suffer."
But TUC general secretary Brendan Barber added: "These proposals will help millions of people balance their work and family life. As both parents work in most modern families, it's right that mums and dads should decide who looks after their baby, rather than the state deciding for them by only paying the mother for parental leave.
"Business lobby groups have opposed every new family-friendly right, from flexible working to extended maternity pay. But in reality these changes have hugely benefitted millions of families and have had no damaging effect on businesses."