I rise to present a petition from my constituency to extend maternity and paternity leave during the covid-19 pandemic. You will be aware, Madam Deputy Speaker, that 226,000 people in the UK have signed an online petition, 342 of whom are from the east end of Glasgow. The arguments have been set out about parents and families needing extra time to be with their children.
The petition states:
And the petitioners remain etc.
Following is the full text of the petition:
[The Petition of residents of the United Kingdom,
Declares that pregnancy and giving birth during a global pandemic and national lockdown is extremely stressful for new and expectant parents; notes that the UK Government has categorised pregnant woman as 'extremely vulnerable' and advised them to observe particularly stringent measures to protect themselves and their unborn babies; further notes that new research is actively being undertaken regarding raised levels of mental health problems for expectant and new mothers and fathers during the COVID-19 pandemic; notes that early experiences of a baby are critical for their future development and future outcomes, and that new parents need time to ‘socialise’ with their babies and introduce them to nursery or other childcare provision; declares that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a hugely adverse effect on early life experiences for new babies in that it has deprived them of their parents’ opportunities to expose their babies to wider developmental experiences outside the home, including experience with wider family such as grandparents; and further notes that the Government has made specific arrangements to protect workers with its Job Retention Scheme but has not made additional arrangements to offer further support to workers on maternity and paternity leave during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the UK Government to immediately institute extended maternity and paternity leave for new and expectant parents.
And the petitioners remain etc.]