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Maternity Leave: Coronavirus

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 19th 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, if he will make it his policy extend statutory maternity leave until (a) nurseries and (b) childcare facilities have re-opened.

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

The UK’s Maternity Leave offer is 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.

We understand the impacts that the pandemic and social distancing have on parents, especially where they are doing the difficult job of balancing work and childcare. This is a problem facing all parents and not just those with babies, we do not therefore, believe that extending maternity leave is the right way to address this.

We have however, introduced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to support those who cannot work due to the current pandemic. The scheme allows individuals who cannot work due to childcare responsibilities to be furloughed by their employer, if both the employer and employee agree.

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