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Parental Leave: Coronavirus

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 18th May 2020.

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Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support his Department provides to workers coming to the end of their statutory (a) maternity and (b) paternity entitlement on returning to work during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

Employees who end their statutory maternity or paternity entitlement and return to work during the COVID-19 outbreak have the same rights as before.

All employees on family-related leave (including Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave, Shared Parental Leave, Paternity Leave and Parental Bereavement Leave) have a right to return to the same job if they have been off work for 26 weeks or less and a right to return to the same, or a similar job, if they have been off work for more than 26 weeks. This has not changed.

For those on Maternity Leave, the normal redundancy protections apply. Maternity discrimination in the workplace is unlawful and there are clear regulations in place which every employer must follow.

The Government is committed to protecting jobs and has provided unprecedented support to employers to retain their employees and protect the UK economy through implementing the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Employees returning from family-related leave can be furloughed if they and their employer agree to this.

In terms of what support employees can expect if they are returning to the workplace, the Government is working to ensure that all workers have the confidence they need to go back to work. New ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidelines are available to UK employers to help them ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. The guidelines have been developed with input from a range of stakeholders, including Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

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