Will MPs finally get parental leave?

Jo Swinson is expecting her second baby this Summer. As Minister, she made sure that everyone else had the option to share their parental leave with their partner in a way that suits them.

Men and women will no longer be tied to what history dictates their traditional roles should be with mum holding the baby while dad goes out to work.  Parenting is a shared endeavour and now dads have the opportunity to spend more time with their new baby in those vital early weeks.

Shared parental leave is my proudest achievement in government, and I’m delighted that it is now a reality.

The Liberal Democrats are the driving force behind this change, and we’re pushing to go further in the next parliament. We want to champion the role of dads, and triple paternity leave, giving all fathers an extra month to spend with their child.

However, Parliament itself has a bit of catching up to do. There is currently no official provision for MPs who become parents.

However, it looks like this might change. A report from the Commons Procedure Committee recommended a system of proxy voting for new parents. This would not be compulsory and would last for a “broadly equivalent” time.

Jo had earlier given evidence to the Committee about why this was so important:

The Committee’s recommendations will now be considered by the Government and Parliament should get the chance to vote on a new system.

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4 Comments

  • Ruth Bright 21st May '18 - 8:03am

    Still waiting for action on rights to leave for our own candidates!

  • Tony Greaves 22nd May '18 - 11:11am

    Err.. how can a parliamentary candidate have “rights to leave”? What does it mean? Some reality checking needed here, I suggest.

  • Matt (Bristol) 22nd May '18 - 12:28pm

    Tony Greaves, it’s fairly simple.

    No party should be de-selecting someone for a candidacy simply on the basis of their being pregnant, and parties with pregnant candidates should respect that they cannot undertake the full range of duties of a candidate.

    If ‘rights’ is unhelpful language, lets talk about responsibilities. The party has responsibilities to its candidates, as much as is practicable and reasonable.

    I don’t think that’s totally beyond the bounds of acceptable…

  • Lord Greaves – The current position is that there are no rules on maternity leave for candidates. This led in my case to me having 48 hours full leave from my post as PPC following an emergency caesarean section with a sick baby in intensive care. I was also, originally, asked to seek re-selection in the month my second child was due to be born.

    Other Lib Dem women have had miserable experiences with the party around pregnancy too but choose not to share them as they still have ambitions and presumably do not wish to be labelled by a man in ermine as needing a “reality check”.

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