Flexible working options for parents need to be significantly improved to help workers stay at home when they need to, it has been claimed.
Speaking to BBC One's Politics Show, justice minister Harriet Harman said that the government should invest more in making sure parents can juggle the responsibilities of a job with those of looking after young children.
She stated that all employees should be given the opportunity to spend extra time at home during the first year of their child's life.
"What we've done is we've introduced a right for the parent to request flexible working. But I think that we should see it the other way round," Ms Harman commented.
"I think that we should be saying that you've got a right to work flexibly, unless the employer can show that it would be unpractical for their business."
The comments come shortly after a report was published by Equal Opportunities Commission that claimed the UK is lagging behind the rest of the EU when it comes to offering flexible working options.
According to the study, while one-fifth of UK employers offer the choice of teleworking, 40 per cent of employers in the rest of Europe do so.