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Extend maternity leave by 3 months with pay in light of COVID-19

Submitted by James Zammit-Garcia on Friday 20th March 2020

Published on Monday 20th April 2020

Current status: Closed

Closed: Tuesday 20th October 2020

Signatures: 238,883

Relevant Departments

Tagged with

Boris ~ Boris Johnson ~ Children ~ Covid ~ Covid-19 ~ Johnson

Petition Action

Extend maternity leave by 3 months with pay in light of COVID-19

Petition Details

In light of the recent outbreak and lock down, those on maternity leave should be given 3 extra months paid leave, at least. This time is for bonding and social engaging with other parents and babies through baby groups which are vital for development and now everything has been cancelled.

Additional Information

These groups are vital for baby development, bonding and educating both babies and parents. Given that the government have closed down many areas of the community new parents and babies are confined to their homes with no social interaction which will ultimately impact on the development of children.

We are calling on Boris Johnson and the government to extend paid maternity leave by an additional 3 months, at least to allow for this development and bonding to take place.

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Government Response

The Government responded to this petition on Thursday 14th May 2020

The UK’s Maternity Leave offer is already amongst the most generous in the World – up to 52 weeks of leave are available, 39 weeks of which are paid – and we currently have no plans to extend it.

During this difficult time for the country, we recognise the disruption the necessary actions are having on people’s lives, their businesses, their jobs and the nation’s economy

That is why the Government has put in place unprecedented support for public services, workers and businesses to protect against the current economic emergency. This includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme that helps protect people’s jobs and helps employers to still provide important benefits such as enhanced contractual maternity pay.

We have made regulations to ensure women will not lose out on Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) should they be affected by a period of furlough pay. The regulations require employers to calculate SMP on normal earnings rather than reduced pay. It is also possible for employers to offer furlough pay at the end of a woman’s maternity leave and pay period, in effect extending the period a woman is away from work.

We understand that the social distancing measures mean that there are limited opportunities for parents to participate in activities normally available, such as parent and baby groups or introducing their newborn to family friends. This is regrettable but necessary to help safeguard the health of individuals, including other new mothers and babies.

Maternity Leave and Pay are provided to enable employed women to take time off work in the later stages of their pregnancy and after they have given birth. In addition, the UK’s Maternity Leave offer is already amongst the most generous in the world, with up to 52 weeks leave available and 39 weeks of pay. Therefore, we currently have no plans to extend Maternity Leave.

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Parliamentary Debate

This petition was debated in Parliament on Monday 5th October 2020

See Debate Details

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