Maternity Leave

Trade and Industry written question – answered on 10th June 2004.

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Photo of Ms Lorna Fitzsimons Ms Lorna Fitzsimons Labour, Rochdale

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many and what percentage of women in the parliamentary constituency of Rochdale have taken 26 weeks' maternity leave since 1997; and what percentage of those were of Asian origin.

Photo of Gerry Sutcliffe Gerry Sutcliffe Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Trade and Industry) (Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs)

Take-up of maternity leave is not recorded centrally. It is possible to make an estimate of the numbers of women taking maternity leave based on employer returns to Inland Revenue of the Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) they recover (since 2003 this has covered the first 26 weeks of leave). Figures for the take-up of SMP are not available on a regional basis, but nationally around 300,000 women receive SMP each year. Information is not available on the ethnic origin of women receiving SMP.

In addition, there will be some women who will qualify for maternity leave but not SMP (because they do not meet the earnings or length of employment criteria for SMP) and similarly some who qualify for SMP but not leave (because they are employed earners for the purposes of SMP but not employees in order to qualify for leave).

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