Find a service

T. 0114 276 5555

Maternity and Parental Leave in the Spotlight

Share this page:

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has issued a report entitled "Working Better" which outlines a long-term strategy for a revision of maternity and parental leave rights.

Under the EHRC's proposals, fathers would retain their existing two weeks paternity leave but this would be paid at a rate of 90% of normal earnings. Mothers meanwhile, would be entitled to 26 weeks maternity leave, all of which would be paid at 90% of normal earnings instead of the current six weeks at 90%.

It is further proposed that fathers would be entitled to four months of dedicated "parental leave" which could be taken after the mother's maternity leave has ended. This right would be available until the child's 5th birthday and up to eight weeks of this leave would be paid at 90%.

Mothers would also be entitled to this additional four months of dedicated parental leave on top of their six months of maternity leave and payable on the same terms as above. Finally, there would be a further four months of parental leave that could be taken by either parent.

In reality, it is considered unlikely that there will be any substantial government enthusiasm for these proposals, particularly in light of the additional cost and because of the obvious disruption and inconvenience caused to most employers.

In a separate measure, the current Pregnant Workers Directive may be amended and the proposal that could potentially have the most effect in the UK, is the introduction of a right to full pay during maternity leave.

Whilst member states would be able to introduce a cap, this would have to be at least equivalent to sick pay. It is still to be clarified whether this would relate to statutory or contractual sick pay. The consultation period for the proposals closes on 22 June 2009.

Share this page:

Get in Touch